Monday, April 23, 2012

When life gets real...

Right now, as I sit with Abbey while she falls asleep, I've been thinking about today while listening to John Mayer's "Half of My Heart." If anyone who reads this isn't already aware, my daughter, Abbey, was diagnosed with Autism last fall, right around the time she turned 2.
We have been working with the local school district's early childhood education center, and Abbey has learned so much in 6 short months. Recently, the Autism specialist at school suggested to us that we take Abbey to another place in town, called The Village, who work with kids like Abbey (they offer other services as well), and after a few observations if Abbey, at school and at their center, Steph and I went to find out the results.
Now, a point of clarification here- Steph and I found out about Abbey's Autism through the school last fall. It's not like we didn't know what was in store. But we were hopeful that she would be high-functioning, or even borderline PDD-NOS (kids who show SOME but not ALL the Autism symptoms). Today, those dreams were dashed, as we were informed that Abbey shows all the symptoms of Autism (with the exception of eye contact).
For our family, it means that Abbey's chances of living a somewhat normal life go down substantially (statistically speaking).  To help put it in perspective, let me put it this way: Imagine not knowing what your child's future looks like. Not knowing what they will or won't be able to do. High School Graduation? Prom? College? Getting Married? Having a career? We just don't know. Obviously, we still cling to hope, and we look to the future, but the future is scary when you don't know what that will bring.
Obviously, it's something that Steph and I have known about, but The Village can give a medical diagnosis, which is a bigger deal than the one we got from the school. One isn't more accurate than the other, but the medical diagnosis is more formal. As we walked out of our meeting, I felt as if I had been stabbed. I felt the same way when the new CDC numbers for Autism came out. "1 in 88 children, 1 in 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls," are the numbers I read. My first thought was: "seriously? 1 in 252" That stinks." As I have these experiences, I feel like I'm getting my heart broken all over again. I guess that's just normal for something like this.
And as Steph and I went to Target to look for a few things, "Half of My Heart," kept playing in my head: "Half of my heart's got a grip on the situation, half of my heart needs time..." Maybe it's far fetched. I don't care. But listening to this song in light of my daughter's Autism has actually helped a little bit.
To be honest, I don't really have a conclusion to this post (maybe that's a confession, I don't know).  But I do know that I love my little girl very much. Period.

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