A Letter to Jacob

April 2, 2019.

Dear Jacob,

This is our fist year to celebrate April 2, also known as Autism Awareness Day. I want to be clear that we are choosing to celebrate you, not your diagnosis. In my mind, those are two very different things. You are so much more than your diagnosis.

I would feel a fraud if we spent today celebrating the fact that you were diagnosed with Autism. In some ways, I feel as if Autism has robbed us of parts of your infancy and toddlerhood that we will never get back. Instead of planning for play dates and birthday parties, we were making travel arrangements for doctor appointments and arranging for all kinds of therapies. Instead of worrying about how I’m going to feel when you begin Kindergarten, I worry about when you’ll start Kindergarten.

I won’t celebrate Autism, but I’ll celebrate you.

I celebrate being chosen as your mom, and I know your dad feels the same way. We cannot imagine life without you in it. I celebrate your cheerfulness and curiosity. I celebrate the giggles and the smiles. I celebrate your constant babbling and even the crying. I celebrate how you’re able to go up and down your slide and the privilege it is to see you play with us in our home.

I won’t celebrate Autism, but I’ll celebrate you.

My biggest hope is that the behaviors that deemed you “Autistic” become behaviors of the past. I hope to hear you speak enough words that we get to conversate. I hope you spend more time in our world, and less time in your own. I hope you make friends and get the privilege of being friends with those around you. Cognitively, I pray that you are capable of doing so much more than people expect you to do.

I won’t celebrate Autism, but I’ll celebrate you.

I made the entire family blue shirts for us to wear today. In your honor, we will wear them proudly. Not because we are proud of the diagnosis, but because we are proud of you. We wear blue to advocate for the lives that have been turned upside down because of Autism. We wear blue to bring attention to the growing rates of Autism and to encourage specialists, doctors, politicians, and policy-makers to help us answer the questions most parents have: How did this happen? Why did this happen? What do I do now?

I won’t celebrate Autism, but I’ll celebrate you.

There will be people who read this letter and feel sorry for us. Save us your pity, and instead join us in demanding that we all do our part to understand this diagnosis on a medical level. There will be people who read this letter and won’t understand why I refuse to celebrate Autism. I suppose it’s the same reason that most parents are jumping for joy when doctors deliver scary news. There will be people who read this letter and think Autism isn’t a death sentence. I agree that our circumstances could definitely be worse, but they could also be better. Despite what pop culture might have you believe Autism isn’t always quirky, funny or completely innocent. For some families, Autism is dangerous, frightening and completely heart-wrenching.

I won’t celebrate Autism, but I’ll celebrate you. Everyday we celebrate you.

Signed with love, Kat.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “A Letter to Jacob

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s