Well, this week is finally upon us.
I knew it was coming. It's been scheduled for two months. The date and time (May 30th at 9am) are burned into my brain at this point.
It's evaluation time for Vlad! Yep, this is the big one. Diagnostic evaluation. The One that will give him the official title of Kid With Autism. How can I be so sure? Well, read The Questions if you want to know the reasoning behind my absolute confidence of what the results will be. Nothing has changed since I wrote that, not really.
This week is all about coping mechanisms for me. Tonight we will watch the new Arrested Development season until my eyelids can't stay open anymore. Tomorrow The Husband and I are having a wonderful date. Tuesday and Wednesday are looking a bit fuzzier, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to fill my time with friends, frantic cleaning, and funny movies. If you'd like to hang out with a somewhat manic version of me, just say the word.
Yes, the anxiety (read The Line) will reach its pinnacle this week. But I'm more concerned about the aftermath. Even though I know what's coming...how will I feel on the other side? I knew with Rascal. I kind of knew with Diva Girl. But there is a difference between "knowing" and seeing the diagnosis, under your child's name, in black and white. So final.
How will I cope then? I'm not entirely sure. If I can get the funds together, I'd love to get a tattoo. No puzzle piece for me, thank you. Just a little something to remind me to be strong, to remind me that I'm not alone and even to remind me that my kids are amazing.
There is something that many of us say, that I have always said, about the act of getting a diagnosis. We say "It doesn't change the child, they are the same today as they were the day before the diagnosis. Now you just have a label that gives you access to services and a way to better help them." And it's true. It won't change him a bit. But here's the thing- It changes me.
Maybe it shouldn't. Maybe there are some parents who bounce back just fine, armed with the knowledge and ready to celebrate. But for me, it's the beginning of a path. Truth is, until the professional sits me down and tells me that it is Autism, there is a part of me that still lives in denial. The moment that back door of "Well, maybe it's just...." closes, I begin the real path to acceptance. I can go through the stages of grief (yes, grief is an appropriate word.) And I can help him discover his strengths and his joys, and begin to see a whole new future and world of potential that awaits for him.
What will happen on that path? Not entirely sure. It may involve a tattoo. A little overeating. A night with one of my best friends, sitting at Sonic, sucking down an Oreo Blast. A coffee date with a couple of girlfriends who have been here before. Maybe a few coffee dates (I really love my mochas and lattes.) Probably most importantly, it will involve holding hands with The Husband. Crying with him and laughing with him.
Coping. Accepting. Embracing.