Where has the Time Gone?

Teghan with Daddy


Where has the time gone? I was looking through old photos on my computer, and I just can’t imagine Teghan being so little. But there she is. I remember that time as if it were both yesterday and a million years ago.

You know what I mean.

Those old photos reveal a family that has no idea what lies ahead. Well, that’s not entirely true. We had plenty of ideas- we just didn’t know how wrong we were. And if we did know, we talked ourselves out of it a thousand times before coming around to the realization that we needed to know that our fears were real. It can make you crazy to know…. until it makes you crazier not to know. I remember all of that, too. 

Teghan Turns OneBut Teghan has always been our same sweet girl. She is very photogenic (if you aren’t looking for poses). And there was never a moment for us when she suddenly became different. She just failed to develop specific skills according to the accepted timeline. And what did that mean for our future? We had no idea. We still don’t know. But eventually, our new life did feel normal. We have new dreams, new parenting guidelines, and new expectations for the future. Probably all wrong, of course, but we aren’t exactly fortune tellers. We just have hope, like everyone else.

I keep coming across parents still in the fear stage of autism. Parents who only want to hear that their suspicions are wrong. Sometimes they are wrong. Sometimes people are crazy, and they are just always waiting for the next disappointment. They see another kid doing something before their kid and they jump to all sorts of conclusions that make no sense. Your child not being number one is not a disability.

Not a disability for your child, anyway.

But then there are the parents who really know something is wrong. They stopped trying to be number one a long time ago. They are desperately seeking for Google to tell them that some children do not point by this age. That a one-year old ignoring his parents can be normal. That language delays are a result of twenty other things, but hardly ever autism…. and they are getting scared.

Teghan at the Zoo

I know I can’t fix that. I know that right now, looking at our life will not make them feel better. I know that our story is the scenario they are fearing the most- the nonverbal, severe end of the spectrum.  I know, because we were once there. It’s a process. There are always going to be struggles and fear for the future. No one is immune to that. But that time in the beginning, when everything is unknown and you are desperately searching to disprove your fears- that’s the hardest part. And it does disappear.

Feeling better will come. And someday they will look back at their journey and find it hard to relate to how they once felt. They will look at old pictures and wish they could tell those parents that things are going to work out. They will want to tell them that there is plenty of happiness and hope ahead.

They will look at all the beautiful pictures of their child with pride, and they will wonder where the time has gone.

Family Pic


4 thoughts on “Where has the Time Gone?

  1. We didn’t even think autism with our daughter. We realised she was delayed in everyway, but the one that struck us most was the physical side. She didn’t walk until over two. Autism really was a bolt from the blue.
    Thank you.

    • It makes it that much more difficult to suspect early since every child is different. Teghan was advanced physically. She did everything ahead of schedule. But there was always something that bothered me about her behavior. The way she didn’t invite us into her world, or display any real social behavior.

      We asked her doctor about autism when she was two and a half, and he seemed very skeptical because of her physical milestones. By then I was sure of it, but I had already spent a lot of time finding evidence that proved otherwise.

      Each case is so different, I am sure a lot of parents are caught completely off guard by the diagnosis, too. In our case, by the time we received the official ruling- we were just relieved to not be crazy and to have some kind of direction.

  2. So beautifully and reassuringly said, Jenny. I knew something was going on with my granddaughter by the time she was a year old, if not sooner. My only regret was not telling my daughter then and getting her early intervention sooner (she was about two years and five months when she started the interventions).

    • I saw signs from the beginning, but because autism is so focused on language and social behavior it is easy to assume you are being paranoid. A year old seems too young to know that- and yet, I look at a one year old now and recognize how social they are compared to Teghan at that age. It seems so obvious now; and then I think it was obvious then, too, I just wanted to believe the people who talked me out of it.

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