It started after his birthday party on the 6th. That was a tough one. We changed our whole lives for Cooper. Every single thing is different now. And that’s fine. I have zero regrets. And every month we are told by Cooper’s therapists how amazing he is doing. Thriving they say. Better every single week. Amazing eye contact. Such a sweet boy. So engaged. Just a joy.
So, I thought his party would be different. It wasn’t. He was still very autistic. And it leveled me.
He has come so far. Hell, we have came so far. 1 full year and still autistic.
And then came Christmas party after Christmas party. Lots of ipads and iphones, movies, etc. Begging him to open presents. Seeing how people want him to be excited. Seeing how they don’t understand. It just kept repeating itself. He doesn’t really care about the presents. He doesn’t eat any foods.
I think I spent 3 full weeks holding my breath. Walking on eggshells. And it really took it’s toll on me. But, honestly, how could it not.
My neck is tight. I’m exhausted. I get sleep and yet I never feel rested. The weight of autism is a lot.
So, I’ve been taking a much needed break. I’ve been off from work now for a week now.
And I’ve spent a lot of time watching and observing Cooper. I see improvements. Lots and lots. He has very few meltdowns. He even sat down the other day and built a tower of blocks. I can’t even add up the amount of time I, and other teachers/therapists, spent trying to get him to stack blocks. And after 4 years, out of the blue, he sat down and did it. Just like that he was ready.
I’ve also spent a lot of time considering the future and what’s next. When I picture Sawyer as a grown up I see an athlete. I see an adorable boy and then a man and then a daddy. I can see it play out. When I look at Cooper I see none off that. It’s dark.
And a few days ago it hit me.
I think this is it.
I am a really intuitive person. I can read people. I am always listening. Nothing gets by me. And I’m usually right when it comes to Cooper. I was right about the ears, and the hearing, and the language, and so much more. I was right about the autism. And I never wanted to be right. I prayed to be wrong about so much of it.
But lately, it’s hitting me hard.
This could be my forever Cooper. No words. No friends. No growing up. He might stay a little boy forever.
I’m so scared. I always think I am passed the different parts of the grieving process. Denial, anger, grief, anger, sadness, anger, jealousy, fear, fear, fear and ultimately acceptance. Right? That’s what are all striving for.
I can see acceptance. It’s right there. Right out of my reach. One step closer and two steps back. It’s never ending.
Jamie and I can laugh and discuss the future at times. I can even say, “Cooper has autism.”
But, I guess I am at this unknown part of the process now. The step BEFORE full blown acceptance. The part that I didn’t know existed.
I call it honesty. Or clarity. Seeing the situation as it really is. No more blinders. And it is so heavy.