We have wondered in the past how to observe the anniversary of the J-Man’s autism diagnosis. It doesn’t much feel like the occasion to invite friends over for a party, make a cake, open presents, and have everyone sing a couple of songs, particularly since he doesn’t much care for crowds, songs outside his comfort zone, or cake.
Last year, we pondered – in a somewhat analytical way – “How Does One Observe ‘Diagnosis Day’?” and looked upon it as a time to remember that turning point in our lives and to be mindful of who we are and the community of people like you with whom we share our experiences.
When Diagnosis Day actually came last year, all of the memories of that day came rushing back. The post I wrote last year I think was the first time I had ever written down the story of that day and the raw emotions I felt. Going back and reading it again was like getting back in touch with the visceral core of our journey.
I was back in the doctor’s office again sitting on that couch, his words distorted in my ears as if I were underwater. I was there watching the J-Man circle that room again and again while the doctor spoke to us. I was there again standing in our back yard angry and hurt and crying. I was there again to feel my resolve harden like a great fist inside me. I was there again, rocking my beloved son in my arms saying over and over again that everything was going to be OK.
I’m glad I wrote our story down. I need to remember all of it.
I am surprised that I almost forgot about it this year. It snuck up on us so quickly. That in itself is perhaps symbolic of where we are these days. Autism is such a part of our every-minute lives that we can’t not observe it every day. What’s ultimately so much different about Diagnosis Day after you make it ways down the road?
Perhaps as much as remembering where it began, Diagnosis Day also should be the parenting equivalent of renewing your wedding vows.
I pledge to love you and be right there with you every step of our way together. No matter what comes, no matter what challenges we face, no matter how frustrated you get or how afraid or overwhelmed you become or how much or how little you say now or ever, I’ll do everything I can to see you through. And together we will discover what you love most and what you most love to do, and we will help you share every gift you have with the world.
I chose you. I chose Mama and your brother, and I have chosen perfectly each time. I chose you the day Mama and I formed you and forever before that. I chose to walk all of the days since I was born to find the path to you, to find you right where I’d hoped you’d be. I chose you the day you were born. I’ve chosen you every day since. And I will choose you every day for the rest of my life. You are our gift. You are the world’s gift. And there is not anything that could ever change that. I am so happy that you are you.