Yesterday was a special day at our house...it marked the 2nd anniversary of Aiden's diagnosis. We make an effort to celebrate the day, we tell Aiden that it is special, because it marks the day that we found out he had autism. Of course, he thinks autism is the best thing in the world, because he knows it is one of the things that makes him special.
He was excited to get to pick some activities...his requests were pretty simple, he wanted to build a model, go swimming, and go to a restuarant for supper. Perfect, all things that were totally doable for us. I thought for sure he would choose Swiss Chalet, his absolute favourite place to eat, (pronounced Swiss Charlet) but he surprised us by choosing McDonald's. It was just as well, Fridays being so busy, we would have had to go to a real restaurant at a strange hour to avoid crowds.
In some ways, it seems like so much longer ago that Aiden got diagnosed. I cannot even imagine now, not knowing. I felt so responsible for so much, in many ways it was a relief to realize that it wasn't all my fault, that I wasn't doing everything wrong. We were the parents who sought a diagnosis..who had a pretty good idea going in that he would land on the spectrum, so his diagnosis didn't come as a surprise, more of a confirmation.
I've certainly learned a lot in 2 years..attended conferences, real a gazillion books, some better than others, I've met some great families, and many beautiful children with autism. My life has taken on a whole other focus as well, issues related to special needs are often at the forefront of my thoughts, I see the world and the community in terms of accessibility, and acceptance. To borrow a line I read from a book..."all of my whens turned to ifs." That just about sums it up. I no longer look torward the future with a certainty of what it will entail..I have no idea. Only time, accompanied with a lot of hard work will tell.
But I will tell you this..sitting down at McDonald's last night, with my wonderful little family, I almost took it for granted that we could sit peacefully and enjoy a "meal" together. This time last year it would have been harder to manage behaviour wise...2 years ago...I just wouldn't have went..so maybe some of that hard work is starting to pay off.
For 2 years now we have been calling autism by its name at my house. It no longer catches on my tongue..it's as much a part of my family as Aiden is. So, we are to celebrate the anniversary of its grand entrance. Autism, you are difficult to deal with, you make life unpredictable and scary at times, but, you are a big part of someone I love, so you are welcome here.