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|Carrying the Hope - Page 7|
We also connect with each other around a sense of isolation and "differentness." Coming home from a birthday party at which your child was the only one who ran screaming from the room during "Happy Birthday" stings less when you can share that honor with your partner. Further, we frequently feel alone together in our worry about Courtney's journey. We feel pride and sadness when we see her helping her big brother put his shoes on. We know about the problems of special-needs siblings, and we want her to feel neither invisible nor like a third parent. We also know that our hard work to heal Brian is, in part, an effort to protect her from having to bear responsibility for him in the future—a terrifying possibility that we rarely voice.
The bottom line is that, like any kind of adversity a marriage can face, our journey with Brian has given us opportunities for intimacy that we wouldn't otherwise have had. When I watch an RDI video that Todd and our son have made together, I swell with pride at how much Todd "gets" Brian. When I offer an autism workshop or mentor a parent of a newly diagnosed child, I know that Todd feels proud that I've found some adaptive ways of coping with my pain and anger.
Carrying the Hope
I remember sitting in my own therapist's office after Brian was diagnosed, and trying to figure out what I was supposed to "do" about this ASD. I remember her saying that my most important job as Brian's mother was to "carry the hope." These words come back to me frequently as we face decisions about biomedical options or school placement or how to set expectations of him.
I carry the hope that we, as a society, can turn the tide and curtail this epidemic. The vaccine–autism connection is strong, and more and more people are questioning the safety and efficacy of the current vaccination schedule. As for my Brian, I carry the hope that he'll someday read this article and be mortified that I wrote about his poop! I carry the hope that I'll dance with him at his wedding and hold his newborn in my arms.
Last week, I had the chance to hang out at recess with Brian and his kindergarten buddies. Brian and three other children were engaged in a game that seemed to be called, "Rescue me, I'm dead." When Ethan yelled to Brian from the top of the jungle gym that he needed rescue due to the fact that he was, in fact, dead, I watched my boy, my sweet, blue-eyed boy, climb competently and confidently up the ladder. "I'll save you Ethan," he called out, "I just have to get across this hot lava." A far cry, indeed, from the boy who used to read license plates in the driveway while the neighborhood kids played. I carry a lot of hope for Brian.