I envy those parents who just get to walk into a school, fill out some papers, and voila, you have a Kindergartner. They don't know how easy they have it, with their hand-wringing over their child getting older and milestones and whatnot, the social media posts with the sad faces that their perfectly neurotypical children are progressing in their perfectly average and anticipated childhoods.
Apparently I'm moving from grief to anger. Please forgive.
So I sat in a room that I've sat in more times than I can count, with the toys that secretly reveal a child's developmental phases and I listened as two people tried as gently as possible to hand me the ghost I've been chasing for half of my son's life.
Kiedis now has an educational diagnosis of Autism.
I don't want to logic myself out of this right now, these feelings I'm having. I'm aware of the bright sides of this, if you can call them that, and I wouldn't have been fighting so hard for so long if I didn't think it would be of benefit to him.
No, right in this second I want to sit in my feels and just break for a minute.
*****I never told anyone about Mariska Hargitay's voice.
In retrospect, maybe I should have. Maybe that was actually the first sign of my antenatal depression and anxiety that would become the postpartum that I drowned in for months setting up camp and making itself comfortable. At the time, though, I was so busy wedding planning and house renovating and then so quickly trying to keep both the fetus inside of me and myself alive that I thought it was a valid concern manifesting itself in the ways that things do in my brain, sometimes.
One in 88. One in 88.
The odds of a child being diagnosed with Autism are one in eighty-eight.
And I prayed. Through the positive quad screen and the enlarged kidneys, I prayed. Through the first episode of SVT and the subsequent hospitalization, I prayed. Through every admittance and time I was told they would take him from my body, I prayed. Through his torturous birth and his stay in the NICU, I prayed.
I can handle this, I can do medical, but please, don't let him be Autistic.
All with Mariska's voice softly whispering, the undercurrent to nearly every thought I had.
I don't know why I was so afraid of it. Maybe because it was so unknown to me, only most extreme cases popping up into my consciousness. Maybe because the societal eye was growing wider towards the condition, laying bare it's darkest corners for everyone to see, to recognize. It was the new ADD and ADHD, the topic du jour about what the fuck is wrong with kids today and how do we medicate it into oblivion.
Except you can't medicate Autism. You can only ameliorate situations, mitigate consequences.
It seemed like a lower standard of life, not only for the children, but for their families.
And it terrified me.
After the meeting, I went to work and held myself together with a new dress and red lipstick. I came home to children already asleep in bed (albeit on the floor) and I moved them back onto their mattresses, leaning over to kiss each soft, sweet cheek as I did so.
I allowed myself to bury my face into the tussled dark blonde hair of my son, taking in his familiar scent. He whined angrily at me, telling me no as he turned away.
Everything is as it was, while nothing is at all.