When Cooper was little and his quirks were just starting to show I silently blamed myself. I’d tell people I didn’t but I really did. I never believed the whole autism and vaccination correlation. Cooper was different since the day he was born. Deep down I knew right away.
At that time I silently doubted everything I had done while pregnant. Maybe I ate the wrong things. For a hot minute I thought maybe I used too much bug spray or even used to much hand sanitizer. And then when we started early intervention I blamed myself for not talking to Cooper enough. For not playing enough pretend or doing enough puzzles.
I’m past that shit. It’s not my fault.
Now I am onto the next part of the journey. I blame myself for not breaking through. I can’t get to him. I constantly question the ‘what if’s’. I can see the little boy that he almost is. He’s in there…I know it. I will tell myself I need to be better. Teach more. Try harder. Not get frustrated. Stop putting movies on and sit with him and break through his shell. I want to fix him so badly that it makes me sick.
I finally read through Cooper’s Autism diagnosis. It hit me like a freaking ton of bricks. I haven’t been leveled like that for a long time.
The diagnosis report was emailed to Jamie’s phone and I read it as we were driving home from getting the boys. I wasn’t planning on any surpises so I just skimmed it. And there it was in black and white.
Visual Reception: Age equivalent 26 months
Fine Motor: Age equivalent 20 months
Rceptive Language: Age equivalent 14 months
Expressive Language: Age equivalent 4 months
I seriously couldn’t breathe. Even as I type this, and it has been a few days since I first read it, it takes my breath away. What the hell am I doing? How are we going to get through this? I read it to Jamie and he just shook his head. I told him to say something. And he said “there’s nothing to say. It’s really bad.”
Oh my God my heart hurt. It still does. Later than night I was going through some papers looking for Cooper’s IEP. I found this note that my mom wrote to him and I was saving it for his baby book. And I burst into tears. Why save it? He’ll probablly never care or even look at his baby book. Who knows if he’ll ever read.
After that I was done. Like I said, I haven’t been leveled like that for a long time. That was a few days ago and I am still digging out of this one.
When I try to describe it to people I tell them it is like I am walking a fine line between having hope and giving up. One makes me a fool and one makes me an asshole. It’s a tough line to walk.