The future holds both uncertainties and possibilities in its hands. Initially after an autism diagnosis, you usually make acquaintance with the uncertainties. Prognoses vary and as of yet, there’s no cure, so where do we go from here? A juggling act suddenly begins, trying to catch and figure out which fear should be dealt with first – (1) What exactly is this detection? (2) What will the years to come look like? (3) What services are needed and which ones will actually work for my child? (4) I accept my child for who he is, but who else will? And although, over time, you learn, you adjust and you fight, the reality you now travel is still as real as the day you shook hands with this developmental disorder. Well, all of this and more becomes a swift movie reel when surgery is placed in front of you. It doesn’t matter what kind of surgery it is, there’s always risks. The risks often turn into further “what ifs” and its sole purpose is to camp by your side, fanning you worry. And it doesn’t help that you have to list next of kin, in addition to, signing consent forms concerning your knowledge of the possibility of unpleasant or unwelcome things happening…. The stretch to this actual day for me was both frightening and overwhelming. The faces of my husband and children became more defined. Every smile, laugh, cry or any emotion for that matter or any movement at all – their stride even and their voice – all captured in my heart, branded in my soul. Every hug held tighter and each hand held longer, which for boys is not favorable — I didn’t care. I was savoring each moment. The prognosis was good from the start, but potential problems, during and after surgery that were discussed, was all I heard. I needed to be alright though. What would happen if my capabilities became inabilities? Beyond that, what would happen if I did not make it? I thought about my husband and each of my boys and I got sick. When I thought about Callie, I couldn’t breathe. His communication has come a long way, but who will continue to guide him on the road to progress? Who will accompany and steer him through and from the teenage years to adulthood? Who will advocate for school accommodations & quality of life….and be that voice he clasps onto with assurance and security? Who will show him acceptance, respect and remind him that he is special? He is loved. He is smart. He is gifted. He is every sunrise….every sunset….every tall mountain….and every roaring sea. Who will be patient with him, be understanding and see his potential and not a label? Who will embrace him when he falls, as well as, praise him when he triumphs? And who will convey to him that no matter what life presents – good or bad, that he is a beam of light in the world and that his existence matters? Panic covered every inch of me. Not only was there a possibility of him being motherless, but his future hadn’t been set up either. Not much had been set aside for down the road. I had done my child a disservice. I lived in the day to day while abandoning the future that was right around the corner. Failure and guilt both joined panic and for the weeks leading, there were these three parading around me. Whether I was asleep or awake, I came face to face with the consequences of being unfinished. I prayed a lot….a whole lot. I prayed that God would allow nothing to go wrong and to make me ok. I want to grow old with my husband. I want to see my kids grow up and see where their gifts take them. And I want to see Callie soar farther than his wings have taken him thus far, but if where he is remains, I want to be here to let him know that it’s alright. I’m here and we’ll walk. We’ll run. We’ll even stop and smell the roses. I just want my presence, even in silence, to speak loud and clear that we’re on this journey together. I realize that his story will one day continue without me, but I prayed – NOT TODAY! I want my chapters in his book to still be written and not be cut short, especially when there’s so much left to be said.
My surgery was two and a half weeks ago. I’m here, well and grateful. Now, I’m working on Callie’s tomorrow. The what ifs, not only, propelled me to think about what’s next, but to put into motion what my son needs to tread on this journey. My mission is to not be caught again without something being set on the table. I want to leave him with preparation and not helplessness. Besides love, that would be an optimum gift to him and a legacy left. There’s a cluster of things that still need to be done for Callie….and I dare not omit my husband and my other precious boys. I’m just thankful that I’ve been given another opportunity to do more.
Thanks for listening,