I kept pregnancy/baby journals for all three of my sweet babies. I wanted to be able to remember things in a way other than lines in a baby book. And I wanted them to read about themselves in that manner as well. I wanted them to be able to see what I was thinking and feeling. I wanted to write about what they were really like as opposed to just what they did and when they did it.
I was cleaning out my desk yesterday. I’ve kept the journals in there for awhile. I started looking at Little Man’s journal. I found myself hunting for clues, hints of his autism. Did I miss something? Why didn’t we see what was going on? Were we blind? I had to stop and put his journal away. I’m not able to look at it without the bias of his diagnosis. That breaks me.
Here’s the thing….don’t look back. You’ll make yourself crazy. You’ll stress yourself out. Finding those clues won’t change what is, anymore than having a looking-back perspective would undo Big Man’s premature birth. I’m just torturing myself going back and looking for whatever it is I didn’t see or wouldn’t let myself see.
I remember the day my sister said she thought I should have him evaluated. I was livid, and completely indignant. I knew something was wrong, but it couldn’t be that. I didn’t want it to be that. I needed it to not be that. It took a friend who has had plenty of experience a) with autistic children (she has one); and b) with Little Man saying, “I think she (my sister) might be right.” I will never forget that day, because once she said that, I knew that was the answer, and that I’d been in denial for some time.
We are where we are now. He is who he is. He does have the help he needs, even if we didn’t get it way back when. In my defense, no one around us way back when saw or pointed out anything. He was just a stubborn, immature, too-smart-for-his-own-good, youngest child. He was challenging and frustrating. If I look back now, I can see what all of that stemmed from, but that doesn’t change what is. It only makes me feel bad to think about it. There’s plenty of guilt involved in this mothering thing already. I don’t need to add to that by self-inflicted means. He is who he is. Those damn letters don’t change any of that.