This morning I wake when it is still dark outside and shower after a cup of coffee. I get myself ready, pack a diaper bag, gather documents, and wait for grandma to arrive. I will wake my sleeping daughter and load her into the car. We will drive to the children’s hospital where they’ll take my precious baby down the long hallway to the operating room. And we will wait. I will stare at screen with her ID number and wait for updates. I will hate every minute of it, but it will okay. I might cry, but it will be okay.
A year ago today wasn’t a whole lot different. Except she wasn’t here — she was in Ethiopia. And it wasn’t a hospital and a waiting room that held my tears and the sick nervous feeling in my gut — it was a doctor’s office and a car ride home.
A year ago today I found out my son has autism.
This last year has held a lot of surrender and acceptance. We’ve given up a lot of the dreams we had for our family and our son. But we’ve starting dreaming new dreams and replacing old expectations with no expectations. We focus on the gifts instead of the struggles. We have horrible days and I still cry more than I used to, but we also have wonderful days and moments of sheer joy.
We’re all growing and adapting and hoping. We’re learning more about each other and ourselves. We’re finding more grace, more patience, more love, and more compassion. I’m learning to ask for help… and receiving it without guilt.
I’ve fallen more in love with my son every day.
I wish you could all know him the way I know him. He is the sweetest boy on the planet. He loves so well. He feels so much. He’s silly and funny and cute and smart and creative and caring and full of joy.
When I think back to that day I sometimes ask myself if I would erase it. Would I change the diagnosis if I had the power? Would I go back and make him non-autistic if I could?
I know now the answer is no. Because then he wouldn’t be Mareto and I can’t imagine my world without him. Life is better because I have a little boy named Mareto who colors everything beautiful.