Once, before I had children, when autism was not the subtext of my very existence, I thought I might be happy if I settled down with a nice person and found a job that paid enough that we might have a middle class existence. I, of course, wanted to travel. I wanted bi-annual vacations with my future family, and at least one real designer bag. I thought I might exist like that for many years in a sort-of happy, unassuming state. I would teach other people’s children for what passes for a livable wage and I would raise my own children to be strong and feminist and everything would be just fine. I wanted a little drama in our lives, but just the good kind, like when you see your neighbor being arrested for money laundering or racketeering (what even is racketeering?)
And then autism happened. My beautiful second born was diagnosed and I fell apart and more importantly re-assembled into a most unrecognizable person. Now, I still wanted the aforementioned things in my life but now I wanted more.
I wanted to study autism obsessively so I could prepare my youngest for the world. I did this for awhile but it was less productive than one might think because knowing and doing are so far from each other in this arena it’s almost comical...almost.
I wanted to advocate tirelessly so I could prepare the world for her. But there were times when I did get tired and do get tired so I’ve learned to pace myself on that one.
I wanted to write down everything I thought about, worried about, dreamed about, obsessed about in case there were others out there like us, that might relate in some way. And I began to wear out a little because the confessional narrative is cathartic, sure, but it can also be exhausting.
I wanted to burn it all done and build it back up again so many times I’ve lost count.
I wanted to celebrate autism and respect autism and destroy autism and wrap autism in a bow and deliver it directly to Hell. (Clearly still a penchant for the dramatic)
I began to want bigger things for us, for her. And it surprises me even now that they aren’t all autism related.
I wanted more.
More for her, and more for us. I wanted to remember there was ‘a rest of us’ in all of it.
And that’s what I am currently working on. And that’s enough for right now.
Except, I would still like that designer bag.
Happy Mail to:
27 Wellington Row
Saint John, NB
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Grace and Kate's mom. (Shanell)