My husband has been on a photo kick lately. He has been digging up lots of old pictures and videos from when the kids were much younger. While many of the images have been wonderful to see, they have also stirred up emotions that I had mistakenly thought were buried.
The single recurring theme in every photo?… GFY autism.
The above photo was taken at my daughter’s first and last ballet recital. It was held on a stage at the local community college. We had third row seats. It should have been an incredible experience but thanks to (GFY)autism, what I remember most is the pain.
The pain my little boy felt in his ears from the loud music.
The pain he felt in his eyes from the flashing lights.
The pain he felt in his body from the show lasting nearly two hours beyond his bedtime.
The pain I felt in my heart because I had to abandon my coveted third row seat at my sweet girl’s ballet debut in favor of a seat in the last row of the theater to shield my baby boy from the sensory overload. I sat, rocking in the last row, with his ears squished between my chest and my arm while covering his eyes with my other arm to help him endure the seemingly endless torture.
Yes. I was selfish.
I refused to leave the theater.
And yes, I still have guilt about that but my daughter needed me there.
That was just the beginning of the endless internal mama battle of what’s right for one child is so NOT right for the other….
My daughter was beautiful. She was graceful. She was HILARIOUS! (At one point in another class’ performance, she darted diagonally across the stage to run to us in the audience. The entire audience “awwwwwwed”) It was pretty darn adorable. We had a bouquet of miniature pink roses waiting for her for after her performance. We had hoped to take her out for ice cream afterwards. We hope for a lot of things that just never seem to pan out thanks to (GFY)autism.
We SHOULD have been able to linger afterwards with her friends and join the celebration. We SHOULD have been able to stick around for the socializing and the photos. We didn’t realize at the time we were a group of five, not four. Our little tribe consisted of myself, my husband, my daughter, my son, and that invisible but ever present bastard (GFY)autism.
Some days, I really want to meet that effer in a back alley with a lead pipe.