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A Rageful Fear and Thanks

A Rageful Fear and Thanks

When the pediatrician, at the boy’s two-year check-up, said to us, you’ll probably need to have him checked for Autism, I wasn’t thankful.

Since this is a family blog, I’ll refrain from being frank with my language. Suffice it to say there was a rageful fear that stole over me in those moments. Followed rapidly by a little over two-million, one-hundred and two-thousand, four hundred other moments that were, to a varying degree, just like those first.

Fear of the future.

Rage for the disconnected now.

Fear of the hobbled hopes.

Rage at the ceaseless struggle to understand.

Fear at the thought that I never would.

Rageful fear.

There was little time for other as we rushed to find a way to help him. Knowing that every day he waits for a breakthrough is like three for another kid, we were rushing, raging against the fog of autism.

But there are clearings and breakthroughs. There is connection. There are times when the boy looks me in the eye and says, “I love you.” And the rageful fear fades.

For that and for so much else, I’m thankful.

I’m thankful that I’m learning to listen, really, truly listen. My ears seek out the smallest syllable, the quietest question whispered in the middle of the night. And when it comes, I’m screaming for joy in my heart waiting for the next.

I’m thankful that I’m learning to live in the moment. To play when we’re playing. To climb when we’re climbing. To laugh when we’re laughing, and we laugh–he and I–often and loudly. To cry when we’re crying because we can’t connect. To lock eyes before we lock hands as we run to play.

I’m thankful for the community we’ve found and the friends, old and new, who just get it. There was a time when my off the scale introversion didn’t worry about losing a friend; I was foolish in my youth. As the boy’s friends have taught me, true friendship opens whole new worlds to explore and to love.

But mostly I’m thankful for this beautiful boy who bounces without reservation, who shouts with joy without concern, and who loves without shame. Despite the fog and the rage and the fear, I’m thankful for who my boy is.

I’m a blessed dad.


View Comments (10)
  • Great post and can relate but on a totally different diagnosis. It’s crazy how you have all these perceptions of what life will be like for your child, but one doctors words can change that in a minute. You get angry, sad, cry, learn, live and educate the world and let everyone know that life isn’t over, it’s just different.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Thanks so much for this post. All you do for our community does not go unnoticed. Thank you for being a voice for our kids. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  • Thanks for the insight. We have two boys, one who is non-verbal/Autistic. We are taking it one day at a time. I agree with Frances.~Life isn’t over, it is just different. It is frustrating, but we are learning more everyday about what helps our family. I am hoping to apply for an I-pad grant soon to possibly help in communication. If we can get him to communicate better and potty-trained, we’ll be in business. Happy Thanksgiving Y’all! 😀

    • Yep. Life is special. Good luck with the iPad. We’re looking into it too. (Especially now that the boy’s language is starting to break.

  • Great post! I have a young cousin with Autism, and, somehow there aren’t as many resources available as you’d hope….and sometimes people do not reach out and do enough. It is refreshing to hear such a deep message from a father. Sounds like you are giving him the prefect opportunities to flourish and enjoy his childhood!!!

    • I agree there isn’t ever enough, but I’m grateful for our family and the resources that we have here in the Rocket City. (Of course we also have a significantly higher incident rate here, too, which is a two-edged sword.)

      Thanks for the encouragement. His mom, big sister, grandparents and I are trying!

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