When Buzzard turned two, I was told that he would most likely never talk. There were many reasons for this, the first of which was a diagnosis of PDD-NOS, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified. Some people call it autism. Some call it Aspergers. I don’t know, and I don’t really care. I couldn’t fathom a child with no voice. Not only for their own needs, but mine. Yes, I’m maybe a bit selfish. Words simply cannot adequately describe the feeling that comes with the very real threat that my child would never say, “I love you, Mommy!” I felt as though I was being held under water, not allowed to draw breath. He would never be able to tell me he had a bad day, nor would my own words offer him solace and comfort for any ailment that might befall him on his journey through life.
Shortly after that, Roo had a similar fate spelled out for him. I found it odd that the only thing health care professionals had to offer was a prescription for Valium (for me) and “advice” on where to find a suitable “home” for them for when they got older, followed by a mumbled apology. I was numb with disbelief, while a whopping dose of denial kept me from a complete meltdown.
Thankfully I’m the kind of person that, when confronted with the words, “You can’t…” my knee jerk response is, “Watch me!” no matter how ridiculous it seems. Here was the fork in the road where I would have to say goodbye to my parenting comrades who were standing on their sunny paths that led to those memory making times of Mothers Day Out, so I could journey alone down a dark road full of twists and turns and uncertainties, not having any idea where it would come out and feeling completely isolated. The hellish existence I spoke of earlier took on new meaning, and the only light I thought I saw was created from the flames of Hell.
I earned new nicknames from many people–some who knew me and understood, some who didn’t and chose to pass judgement just the same. A friend gave me the essay, Welcome to Holland by Emily Perl Kingsley. Some are offended by it. Not me. It was my life jacket, and I clung to its ideas for dear life.
Over the years my sons have proven they have a voice, thoughts and feelings. These things may seem simple, but I try to recognize them for the miracle they are, and how far they have come, even when it is arguing, disrespect or teenage mouthiness. What really brings me joy are the unexpected comments such as the one the other night while watching Star Wars. Princess Lea was on in all her glory and makeup when suddenly Buzzard says, “Where would she find lipstick in the middle of a war?”
He’d be surprised at the lengths a woman can go when she’s passionate about something.