This is hard. Hard to make a daily habit of writing. I could tell you that I’m lazy or distracted or busy with other things and all of this is true. But the real reason, I fear, is that to sit with my thoughts and craft them into my own local coherence is almost too much for me to bear.
We took John & Sam to the pediatrician last week for their 2-year visit. It had been awhile, so we were catching Dr. G. up on the latest developments (i.e., our official ASD diagnoses) and all of the sudden she pelted me with Well, this is big. How are you doing? Are you sleeping? Are you feeling overwhelmed? (and I burst into tears as if I were a water balloon just waiting to be jostled) You need to get on some medication. You need to talk to someone. You can’t take care of the two of them if you’re not sleeping. I think I blubbered something about being fine and about handling everything great and about not believing in medication, and even hell no, I’m not depressed.
Well, the strangest thing happened that night, I started crying. And felt ugh, depressed. (I think Dr. G made it happen—really, I blame her.) And then I looked at the calendar and realized it was 9/11. Five years ago I was still a newlywed about to celebrate a one-year wedding anniversary, motherhood was still just an idea. Hubbie and I still lead a pretty independent lifestyle where meeting after work for a drink and a game of pool was still in the realm of possibility. I remember trying to find my mother all day. She worked right across the street from the Trade Center. Late that night I heard she was walking into her building when the planes hit and was able to evacuate via ferry. I remember the everyday feeling unreal—getting a cup of coffee, grocery shopping, reading a book. A feeling of dread that blanketed my shoulders like a wet shawl. Feeling that dreams were pointless so why bother, why do any of it at all?
But now I have children. The dreams I have are now for them and today their autism is the shawl I try to shrug off. These days I’ve been feeling its weight behind my eyes, it is true. Crying hasn’t felt as automatic, as wrenching, in five whole years. It’s almost self-indulgent. I have nothing left to do but finish and move on.