This is the most beautiful and epic story I will ever write. I don't want to write it, I'd prefer another tale...but this is the one I have been given, and so with the familiar click of the keyboard, our story starts to unfold...
I forget about it when I am sleeping. The second after I wake up- I re-remember all over again and the heaviness of my heart is almost suffocating. It takes awhile to fall back asleep. I wake up with Parker every few hours, so I am reminded again and again and again, and by morning time, I am exhausted.
I know this story won't only be a sad one. It will be sweet...it will be eye-opening...it will talk of love, of strength, of beauty in the most unexpected of places with the most unexpected of people. I just have to wait for it to unfold. Time is the only true story teller.
I was running the other day. It was over 100 degrees and I had you in our stroller, Grey. I felt strong as each pounding on the pavement released a little stress. A sweet old man on a bike rode by and he said to his companion- while nodding towards me--" That is a true Warrior".
Damn Skippy, I say. I am a Warrior.... and so are you Sweet Greyson...and so the tale begins...
Boy or girl....I didn't care. I really did just want a healthy baby.
At 7:02 pm on June 7th, 2009 they placed his sweet little perfect and wrinkled body into my arms. I was the proud owner of one happy and healthy baby boy. My wish came true, Greyson Michael Kelly was a bouncing blue baby boy and I was enthralled. Overwhelmed and scared stupid- yes, but happy. Something happened deep inside my soul at that moment when I became a Momma. If you are a momma, you know. I now possessed this protective and raw vulnerability that made it hurt to love something so much. His happiness, his safety, his health and well being- they were my welcomed responsibility and it was the most important job I had had in my life.
I just realized today that Greyson is Autistic. My sweet and perfect son, Greyson has Autism. There has been no official diagnosis, but I now know, at the very least he is somewhere on that damned, elusive spectrum.
I've been confident in explaining away the quirks...
He barely talks and he doesn't call us Mom or Dad. But many boys are late talkers...
He usually doesn't seem to hear his name when we call him...maybe he's just really into playing with his cars. In fact- he's a little too into playing with his cars...
His face rarely lights up when he first sees us after we've been gone and walk through the front door. In fact, he often doesn't even look up when we enter the room, and often times he doesn't look at me when I'm jumping up and down in front of him- calling his name- 30 times...he looks through me.
He prefers playing alone.
He looks at things sideways.
I can't explain away anymore.
But there were so many things that just didn't fit the picture....He laughs...he smiles...he isn't rigid about his routines...he likes to cuddle. He looks me in the eyes and smiles and gives me a hug that erases anything bad that has ever happened to me in my whole life. And up until the 15-18 month range he hit all his developmental milestones like a Champ.
Those beautiful "neuro-typical" things kept me afloat on a beautiful ship called Hope. I've been wedged between wishes and truth and somehow it looks like I've popped out on the other side. The side called reality, and there's no going back. But I want to go back...for just a day.
Autism doesn't happen to me- it happens to some other lady on some crappy Lifetime TV movie.
Now I get down on my knees and ask I don't know who...God? The Universe? What is real? Who am I? Who is Greyson? What will his future look like? What about his life that I've already daydreamed into existence? Where did it go? His life, complete with many friends, school, sports, love....college, marriage and babies. I want him to have that life. He deserves that life and it just isn't fair. What dream will I dream instead?
I just feel sad and so tired. Tired of tantrums, frustration caused by a lack of communication...speech therapy...Developmental Preschool...Explaining almost every single thing I've done out loud for the past 6 months in the hopes that he would finally start talking....
"Mommy is opening up the door. Mommy is going to put you in the stroller...Mommy and Greyson are going to go for a walk. Mommy feels like she is going crazy and her ears hurt from all the silence."
I still have to fully accept that Greyson has Autism, because I keep thinking that someone official is going to figure out what is really wrong with him, give him some medication and fix it all. He will be completely fine, and I will be so relieved. Isn't that how the story goes? Our babies get sick and the Dr. makes them better and then we are so relieved and grateful. The Dr. can't make Greyson better, but somehow I still have to find a way to get to the grateful part. I have to find our new Normal.
I'm a Professional Momma. The kind that would rather be with my babies than out shopping or getting my nails done. The kind that gets drunk from breathing them in at night. If you have somehow found these words then I bet you are too, friend.
I love him beyond this string of words can convey....yet I am disappointed because he has Autism...which makes me feel like I am saying I am disappointed in who he is...which makes me feel like my heart is breaking just a little more.
I am his momma...I feel like I've failed my sweet and innocent son because something bad has happened to him and I'm not fixing it. I search for the sparkle in his eyes that would stop strangers dead in their tracks.
I know deep inside, he is not Autism...he is still Greyson...my Greyson...and although I am not an expert on Autism, I remind myself, I am an expert on Greyson. I am still madly in love with him. Ridiculously proud of him. Spellbound by his sparkling blue eyes.
I'm scared. I'm overwhelmed. I have so much to do...and although I lie in bed and google and read until my eyes burn, I still have so much to learn. And I know, all of this will just take time. And one day, this new World will feel like mine again.