We are approaching the first anniversary of the J-Man’s autism diagnosis. It’s hard to believe it’s only a couple of days short of a year now. It seems like one should observe these anniversaries in some fitting way, but honestly I’m not sure what that would look like.
They say you quickly get to where you can’t remember life before your child was born. That I can remember, since being without children for 32 years gave me plenty of time to create a lot of memories. It is harder for me, though, to remember our time with him when our vocabulary was different, pre-diagnosis. Back then, we thought it was something else, or lots of something-elses. We thought a lot of things.
It has been an amazing year full of achievements and fears and celebrations and despair and laughter and joy and everything in between. It’s been a year of many big decisions, a lot of bureaucracy, major transitions, yet more paper, and learning to swim after being thrown into the deep end of a very big pool. Plus, we’re only weeks away from our new baby, and what adventures await us there are impossible to imagine.
But constant throughout – we are so indescribably proud of the J-Man. He has faced every challenge bravely, and he has accomplished things that boggle our minds. He is our greatest teacher and our pure sunshine. Most of all, he is a sweet, kind, loving, perfect soul, and he is our beloved son. He doesn’t need to do anything to impress us; he does that just by being who he is. And nothing can ever change that.
So how does one observe something that is part of our lives every day? Is there even a need to? I don’t know, but to me it does seem important. What would you celebrate on that day that would be different than any other day? We don’t celebrate his achievements only once a year. We don’t wait for just one day a year to renew our commitment to him and to helping other parents and children.
Maybe it’s that we should remember it as a turning point where our perspectives on many things changed forever – perhaps as a reminder to be always mindful of who we are, where we are, where we hope to be, and what he have to do to get there. Perhaps, too, it’s to recall the identity and experience we have in common with a broad and diverse community of people like you with whom we share this journey, and that we all have so much to give and receive from each other.
I’d love to hear from parents and how or whether you mark this day in your year. Feel free to post in the comments.