The Road Less Traveled
I haven’t written anything for A Mom’s Year for more than a week. I’ve never had writer’s block before, but when Will got an official diagnosis of Asperger’s my words dried up. Even though we’d known for a long time that something wasn’t right with his wiring, being told that Will has autism felt like getting the wind knocked out. And because no one in this family ever does anything by half, Will also got a diagnosis of ADHD (minus the “H”).
So once again we find ourselves on the road less traveled and there’s a lot to learn about and figure out and try to understand.
Part of the figuring-out process has included working out what and how much to say about all of this—here and in regular life. The thought of making a big announcement feels odd and stilted—I mean, he’s still Will. But at the same time it’s weird for me to write about Christmas projects or chat about the weather when this is all I can think about.
My truth has always been found in books and poetry, so it was no surprise that I got my answer in an article by writer and illustrator Anne Sibley O’Brien: “We’re the myth makers, the image seekers, the story bringers. Our calling is to brave the hero journey, deep into the universe of our individual and collective unconscious, to return with the treasure that will save the kingdom: meaning.”
I don’t want to lay Will bare for all the world to see, but if my experiences as his mother can help anyone at all, then I will gladly share what I can. I have no idea what’s going to happen, but the thought of shaping all of this into something meaningful makes me feel a lot better.
And already I am feeling so many instances of God’s grace as we stumble forward on this not new but newly-defined path: in the dedication and compassion of teachers and staff at Will’s school, in the stories of friends who are parenting their own children with autism, and especially in Will himself. My Grandma Charlotte, who was a mother of eight and a grandmother and great-grandmother of many, once said, “I love all my grandchildren, but there’s something about Will.” Yes there is, and bless you for seeing that, Grandma. I see it, too.
So there you have it. The word autistic still makes me wince, but I think I can go back to talking about our regular old life and Christmas and everything that’s beautiful and wonderful about this time of year.
Posted: November 29th, 2011 under Parenting.