Wednesday, March 12, 2014

nearly one year ago.



Last June, I found myself awake early one morning, crying to a stranger on the phone. She was an Autism mom, and was trying to help me cope during the realization I was going through--the realization that I was probably an Autism mom, too.

She said something that morning that made me mad at the time. She told me that if it weren't for Autism she would never have never met some of her closest friends in the world, and that her life wouldn't be as meaningful as it is now.

I remember thinking, "who cares?! I would give up every and any potential friendship I might make in order to take this burden away. How could she possibly think that could make me feel any better?"

It's been nearly a year since I made that phone-call, and my life has changed in remarkable ways. What used to sound depressing and impossible has become my new normal. And, just like I imagined, I do find myself curled up in bed nursing a broken heart from time to time. Occasionally, I find myself pounding the walls with frustration. I expected all of that, and it's real. But those days don't come often, and they don't stay long. What I didn't imagine, and couldn't comprehend at the time, was the unimaginable joy I would feel as I continued to love and care for my special little Evie.

I wouldn't have thought I could find myself, on a Saturday afternoon, sitting next to her as she ate her lunch and smiling through my tears as she offered me bites of her rice cake and then burst into giggles each time I took one. It was an ordinary moment that any Mother might have with their child. And yet, I was sobbing--my heart being ripped to shreds by her sparkle, and her smile, and the overwhelming feeling I had that this moment was not ordinary. That afternoon, I could feel that she was someone special, as plainly as I could feel the salty tears running down my face. I felt it all the way to my toes.

I wouldn't have thought I could find myself, writing emails to other Moms and saying things like "it gets better, hang in there, the clouds will part, you'll feel happy again." I didn't believe any of that could be possible for me, for you, for any of us on this incredibly difficult and breathtaking journey.

It's been nearly a year, and I don't wake up crying anymore. I don't wake up with a throbbing ache in my chest and a stomach full of lead. I wake up to the sound of her saying "Mom!?" and her giggle as she hugs me, touches me, smells my hair, and falls on top of me; her body relaxing against the weight of mine. I wake up and fall to the floor to pray that I can be good enough for her, brave enough for her, happy enough for her. And then something miraculous happens, and I realize that, because she is mine, I am.

It's been nearly a year, and I'm beginning to understand what that other Mom meant that morning as she listened to my sobs through the phone. Maybe another mom who is where I was will read this, and not believe me, too. To her I would simply say that Evie makes my ordinary life something extraordinary. Some days it is extraordinarily hard, and some days it's extraordinarily wonderful, but always, it is worth it. She turns an afternoon of sharing bites at the kitchen table into a miracle unfolding before my very eyes. She makes everything more than what it was before.

And I am something more now, too.

2 comments:

  1. Oh friend, I am so happy for you.

    I never have the words to tell you just how much I admire your incredible writing but I think that these simple ones suffice: this is perfect. I appreciate your honesty and I am grateful for your friendship. We are not in the same boat with our kids and yet I find so much comfort in your wisdom, empathy, and humor. Bless you for being the mom and person that you are.

    Love you and that beautiful girl (and boy and other girl!) of yours.

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  2. I can't relate to this. I won't pretend that I can. But I definitely do relate to hearing a piece of advice or encouragement from somewhere & not believing it, even being angered by it, and then finding it to be just right. That's such a wonderful place to find yourself. :) I'm so glad to hear that the hard days are getting few and far between!!

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thank you for your shout outs!