This moment will pass.
Truly believing those words will get you through a lot in life. I first learned the importance of this with my marriage. The best advice I have to offer newly married couples, other than to pick your battles– is that you will not be in love every day. But it will come back around, so don’t pack your bags quite yet. We are moody creatures, and perspective can change easily.
This advice took on a whole new meaning while I was learning to accept my daughter’s Autism. The idea that this struggle may never pass was too much to bear. And it is a struggle. So everything comes down to that ever-changing perspective. Knowing it will change, even when it feels impossible, has gotten me through the darkest moments.
Some days are harder than others. We were married, without children, for eleven years. We tried for over three of those years to have a baby, and we probably won’t be able to have any more. This is not what we imagined family life to be. It could be worse, and there are no guarantees in life; but we are talking about perspective, and these facts are important.
There are days when I make the mistake of thinking about what Teghan would be like if she had typical social skills. I think about what we would be doing together if she were like other four year old girls. I wonder what we would talk about if she could talk. I imagine a world where she understood pretend play, or could follow storylines of a book or a movie.
Sometimes I think about the things I will never watch her experience. How she will never drive a car, have a career, get married, or have children. I worry that no one will care about her when we are gone.
Sometimes I make the mistake of letting other people affect me. The stranger who judges me when my daughter attempts to take a drink from their cup. The in-laws who believe spanking is the cure for Autism. The coworker who tells me I am lucky that my child can’t speak, because kids who talk too much are so annoying. (Coworkers who talk too much are annoying.)
Sometimes Teghan seems so far away from the rest of us. I might feel as if I know her when she throws herself to the ground in a rage, because I am the first to suspect that there must be a missing piece to some group of three she has created. But I don’t understand it at all. I learned from trial and error. I have no actual understanding of why she chose to group together three random pieces of paper, or why the brief misplacement of one results in the neighbors thinking our child has been stabbed.
And I think about how I got to this place. Why I even wanted children. If I am living the kind of life that a past, happier me, would have found desirable in any way.
But, this moment will pass.
And it does pass. The next morning she will climb up onto my lap and want to snuggle with me for as long as I will have her. Tomorrow she will say something she has never said before, or do something I didn’t know she could do. And I will think she is the most amazing child in the whole world. I will think about how sweet she is. I will be hopeful for all of her potential. I will feel lucky, because I almost missed this whole experience by not having children. I will be happy.
She is worth every struggle. I may not feel it every minute of every day, but I will always know that the moment is coming when I will feel that way again.