I think that Hope is the number one hallmark of being an Autism Mom. Of course, this can come only after traveling through the stages of your own particular grieving process: Denial, Anger, Sadness. If you let her, Hope can even go along for the ride with these big guys — albeit smaller, quiet, feeling less entitled to hang around.
Even when I feel hopeless, I know that hope is inside trying to stage a coup d’etat. The hope that early intervention will live up to its hype. The hope that Sam will be mainstreamed sooner rather than later. The hope that John will learn joint attention. The hope that my boys will have full happy lives despite their Autism, or even in spite of it.
Sometimes it seems I will never reach my ultimate destination: Acceptance. The journey preoccupies me. The road seems endless, like driving I95 from Florida to Maine without stopping for a bite. So many forks in the road, which ones should we take. RDI or ABA? The scenic route would be nice, but what if it takes longer?
On my journey, each day is a little bit different than the one before it. I’m keenly aware that my sense of normal has changed. True happiness lies in the small things, in the hopeful things, which sometimes are big! Like getting a phone call from our EI team and hearing that funding was approved for John to receive 10 hours per week of in-home ABA therapy.
And this: while singing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” with Sam, John shouted out “E-I-E-I-O” with a huge smile. He turned away and refused to indulge me with a repeat performance, but it was a delicious peek at the little boy inside. Hope is making me stop, breathe, and appreciate the sights along the way. I think I’ll continue traveling down this one-way street for a bit longer.