I woke up with this in my head at 3am. I’m just now getting to type it out 12 hours later.
I feel like I’m standing in the woods. I was walking a trail that I thought I knew well. I could tell you where the bumps were, where the roots of the trees stuck out of the ground, and where the rockiest parts would be found. I had my life somewhat planned.
Suddenly a fog has rolled in and night time has fallen. I can’t see where I’m going. My path has washed out from so much rain and the trail beneath my feet is no longer familiar. I’ve cried my path away. I trip, stumble, and move slowly because I have no clue where I’m headed. My path isn’t the same one I was on before. I can’t turn around. I’m too far down the path to turn back now. I wouldn’t trade what I’ve got for anything in the world.
I have two children diagnosed with Autism. I have a little girl who is trying to learn her way in the world herself. I’m not alone on this trail. There are brambles, thorns, and branches that seem to come out of nowhere and smack me in the face. Diagnosis followed by diagnosis followed by some self-discovery and a search for a diagnosis of my own. I’m cut, my heart bleeding onto my sleeves. I’m scared, unsure if I should even trust my own instincts. I have three little people relying on me to find our way out of these woods and into the clear where we can see the moon, the stars…the future.
I keep hesitating, faltering on the path. I am taking in so much information that I can barely process it all. I look for a sign. Where should I go? Occasionally the fog breaks for a moment and I can catch a glimpse of my surroundings. I read something that strikes me as important or I find a friend who has been there and is willing to help guide me. I move forward just a little before I run into something else on the path that I wasn’t expecting. Financial concerns, procedural requirements, people with training who question the training of others when I’m supposed to be able to rely on what these trained people are telling me.
There are people along the path that can help. I can hear their voices ahead. They are the doctors, speech therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and psychologists that are testing my children. They have some of the answers I’m seeking but it takes time to reach them. Time is of the essence and I’m wasting it by being trapped in this fog on a trail I no longer know. Early intervention is supposed to be the best thing for helping my sons, who are trapped in a fog of their own that is completely inside their heads, but I have no access to help until I reach the voices ahead on the path.
I’m working my way towards the people who have some of the answers. This path is blocked in part by bureaucratic red tape. There are timeframes that these people are given to do their evaluations and they don’t seem to be in as big of a hurry as I am. There are places I can’t go without taking the long way around. In the process of trying to begin getting my sons help, I have had to stop and start over because I can’t figure out how to balance work, therapists, school and regular life. There aren’t enough hours in the day and there isn’t enough money in the bank to do what I’d truly like to do to help my kids.
I want to put them with the best therapists, in the best schools, and be able to devote my time and my life to teaching them and making them as independent as possible because I know I won’t be here forever. I also want to live a little in the mean time. I can’t seem to strike a balance between their needs, my needs, my wants, and life’s requirements.
I hope there is forgiveness in the end if I falter, fall, or fuck this up. I’m doing all that I feel like I can do right now in the current state that I’m in. I know I sound like I’m making excuses as to why I can’t go further down this path. I know it may seem like I’m just plain lazy sometimes. I’m tired and I’m not really at my best right now. I’m trying to make the most of what I have to offer my kids, which isn’t much at the moment outside of my loving arms to wrap around them and a promise to be there for as many days as I’m given.
So be patient with me while I try to find my way down this new path I’ve been placed upon. Give me time to take in my surroundings, feel my way down the trail, test each step before I fully take it because I need to make it down this path in one piece with my three little people intact, too.
I need your understanding when I tell you that I want to do something, try something, find something…anything…that will help. I just need the time to figure out if it’s what I really need to do to get further down this path or not. I need to research it. I need to determine if it is even going to help me find my way to helping my children to the best of my ability. Just please be patient with me.