We are coming up on five years since Josh has been here. Earlier last night I was watching him do something, and realized just how far he, as an individual person has come. I was looking back at some old postings from those early months, and stumbled on a picture of two year old him. I laughed, and mentioned to a friend what I had found. Hes grown, these past few years, and not just physically.
And then she asked the question: Did you know he had autism then? I paused for a few seconds, because its not something I have ever verbalized. Its not something many ask about, and its not something I talk openly about. It is what it is, and I learned a long time ago that you cant stop to feel sorry about the way things are. In this case, there is nothing to be sorry for. It is what it is, and hes pretty great just the way he is.
But answering the question, led to more.
No, I didn’t know then. And if anyone else did, they didn’t say anything.
And its probably better that way.
When he was first diagnosed, a year after he came home, I read everything I could get my hands on. I bought books, read articles, scoured the internet. I wanted details. I wanted reasons. Ideas. Outcomes. Endings. I wanted a reason, and resources. I expected that since there was a diagnosis, there was a cure. There was a magic was to “Fix” it all. And some reason, I couldn’t find it.
I remember the day I finally tossed my hands in the air. After chasing this “Fix” in circles, I piled the books I had bought up and tossed them into a drawer, closed it and never looked back. While is may be symbolic, at the time all it meant to me was there were no answers. No one had any idea. The therapist I was looking for did not exist. It didn’t matter if I traveled miles to find them – they were not out there. And the only thing all the books, articles and research had taught me was there were no answers.
There was no one who was going to find him the help he needed, because there was no one who knew what help he needed. Everyone was doing their best and guessing, and coming up short. Autism is a funny thing. Because while it is a real diagnosis, there are no real answers.
Everyone has their opinions, ideas, and guaranteed solutions – but some work, and some don’t. Ideas are welcome, opinions important. But nothing is guaranteed. And nothing has made that more clear, than these past five years with Josh.
He is smart, he is funny, he is wild and loud but he is also quiet, and shy. He is strong willed. He is determined. He knows what he wants, and wants what he knows. And life with him is so unpredictable. Reading back over those first days, reading the frustration and confusion of wondering why, and what was wrong. Wondering what was happening, and how we would ever come out on top. Reading about our first success’, our failures, and everything in between.
I cant say these past five years have been easy. Because they havent. They have been hard, and I will be the first to say I have thought many times about rethinking this decision. But this wild, unpredictable life that is insane at times? Is perfect. And so is he. And I wouldn’t change anything about either one of them.