Emmett started his scream fest the moment I parked the car, and that’s when I became the parent who forces what she imagines looks like a calm face while continuing to shop as her child throws a royal fit in the grocery store.
Up until Emmett, I usually became annoyed at those parents.
Why wouldn’t they just leave?
Why would they continue when clearly their child’s limit was maxed out?
Save everyone the headache and come back when you can leave your kids at Grandma’s house.
But perhaps being able to get a special pen for writing on ceramic for DIY Christmas gifts, or searching for 3lbs of almonds at Costco is mom’s lifeline to sanity. Perhaps Dad is finishing his degree, and a few days of the week doesn’t get home til after 10pm. Perhaps one Grandma works a full time job and recently injured her leg. Perhaps the other Grandma has helped a ton already and can I at the very least make a simple trip to the grocery store?
Perhaps it’s all of these things including having a child with Autism. (If you’re just joining me, Hi! Here’s Emmett’s intro from a few weeks ago.)
To look at him (or any other child of autism for that matter), you’d never guess it. One of his little quirks is that he is easily overwhelmed when out in public. And I personally can’t belittle that because hello, my name is Carolyn and I’m an INTJ.
In other words: it’s going to take a week for me to recover from Christmas festivities.
So, Emmett, I get it. But the difference between myself and Emmett is that he’ll be 3 on Sunday and speaks with little to no words to express his needs or wants.
I write this with ease and understanding, but I assure you that arriving at this comprehension has taken the better part of 2 years. 2 years of screamfests in public, 2 years of being overwhelmed to go out in public for fear of thrashing fits, or turning around and finding Emmett gone. 2 years of trying to understand what Emmett wants or needs in order to better cope with different environments and routine changes.
We stopped for a breather, ate some McDonald’s french fries, and 10 minutes later, Emmett was gazing in awe at Costco’s warehouse ceiling and chirping, “BEWWWW-TEEEFOLL!”
I got my 3lbs of Almonds. To you receivers of my Pinteresty Bavarian Vanilla Almonds, I’m Paul Harvey and THIS is the rest of the story. Good day.
December 10th, Craig and I met with the children’s hospital and received Emmett’s official diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
As a parent, it’s hard to sit there and passively nod at the medical professional sans emotion even if they’re telling you your child officially has an infected hangnail.
Nevertheless, I was shocked as I heard a strange high-pitched whine/crying to realize the sound came from my own mouth, and I blubbered on about Emmett changing our life, not for the worse, but infinitely for the better.
Because while a simple trip the the grocery store is tantamount to asking me to take a hot Yoga class with another human being strapped to my person in the middle of a high-traffic intersection, Emmett has stopped my parental Judgy McJudgerson dead in its tracks.
Emmett has exercised my patience in ways I’ve never believed would stand the test and be able to recount the tale with a laugh.
Having an official diagnosis changes absolutely nothing about Emmett, and absolutely nothing about how Craig and I love him or any of our children. It gives me a little comfort knowing that I’m not entirely lazy for not looking forward to herding the cats out of the house and into a car, and into a shopping cart, and back into the car, and into our home.
Because of Emmett -because of all of my children- Craig and I have been transformed into better people.
We are blessed, and doubly so with Autism. And so we carry on!
“See …I knew God has someone special to give the girl who never wanted children.”