I would like to say that I gladly embraced my son’s diagnosis, but it was much like someone telling you that there was a mistake. You did have a normal healthy son, but all the sudden Aliens have come down and replaced that son with a new one. This new model is mostly your son, with other things now thrown in. This new thing doesn’t play by the same rules (or even have them for that matter). This new thing looks like your son, but at the same time isn’t. This may sound harsh, and I apologize if I have caused offense, but it is really one of those things that is hard to understand unless you have experience it first-hand. When Logan was 2 and half I didn’t know exactly what Autism meant to me, just that it changed things and that my idea of parenthood was going to drastically change.
Four months after Logan’s diagnosis Matt and I separated. When I say that Logan’s diagnosis was like a bomb exploding the biggest casualty was my marriage. It happened slowly, but the more I learned about Autism and worked to help Logan, the longer hours Matt worked at his job. He became a shadow in our lives, and soon when I told him I was moving back home to have more of a supportive system, we were both relieved that someone had finally admitted it. To this day I have no idea what would have happened had Logan not had autism, but I know that decision was one of the best that we made as a unit.
The grief that came with Logan’s diagnosis was massive. The What if’s were overwhelming at first. They ranged from the simple pleasures I had always imagined Logan doing like would he ever ride a bike? Go to a normal school? Play sports? To major what if’s like…would he ever live in his own? Would he ever have a date? Drive a car? Go to College? At first these What ifs filled every place in my mind almost to the point that it was hard to exist in the day to day going on because the fear of the future seemed so overwhelming. Then almost as fast I learned to celebrate the moments and not the milestones. At the time Logan could speak only a few words and he usually cut off the ending or beginning of his words. Green was ree, Blue was ue, Red was re. We started aggressively using sign language and gradually the words became more audible and more whole. The grief gave way to focusing on the here and now and building the best day to day life for Logan.
Callie Metler-Smith is the owner of Clear Fork Media Group in Stamford, Texas. She has owned the Stamford American since 2009 and Clear Fork Publishing since 2014. When not working on her corner of the Stamford Square, she is spending time with her husband, Philip, two sons, Logan and Ben, and her niece, Sadey.