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Autism: Talking With My Mom About My Diagnosis

27 Jul

Yesterday I spoke to my mom on the phone. Years ago I moved across the country to start my daycare. I had thought that I would be able to visit a couple of times a year, and to talk to her often. I am not good at imagining what the future may bring, and am somewhat of an idealist, I guess. Things often don’t turn out as I expect them to.

I miss my mom. I wasn’t exactly close to her when I was younger. She spent so much time with my sick and noticeably disabled brother. When my son was born, however, I found my support from her. When all of my other relationships were falling apart, my bond with my mother grew.

Then I moved away. My son was just 4 years old at the time. I thought I would get back often to visit, but life didn’t happen that way.

My mom takes care of my older brother’s children now. She is busy all of the time, and exhausted when she is able to stay home. She still has to look after my younger brother, also, who will never be able to live fully independent.

So I talked to my mom yesterday. It was our first phone conversation since my diagnosis. I didn’t know how she would respond.

She didn’t know how my autism could have been missed. They had taken me to doctors. They were involved with specialists for my brother. They were looking for unusual development. So how could it have been missed with me?

I explained that they didn’t really start diagnosing until the 90’s, but I grew up in the late 70’s and 80’s. They wouldn’t have known. We talked about how everyone thought I was shy, because I wouldn’t talk or participate – but for me, I had the words, but couldn’t make the connections to get them out most of the time. We talked about my multiple sensory issues. She remembered. She remembered it all. She just didn’t know.

Five years ago, during a very emotional period of my life, I wrote a novel. It was only about 40,000 words in length, but the structure of the story was there. I just needed to add a bit to it. I only found that novel again a week ago. (In truth I was afraid to look in case I had really misplaced it, or found it was horrible.) I went over it all of this week, making some corrections and additions, but found that I really liked the overall story still. I didn’t make a lot of changes.

I talked to my mom about this, too. About how I love writing, and about how I still think my book is interesting. Five years ago, when I first told her, she didn’t think I had much chance with it (she never read it.) Yesterday, however, she was very encouraging.

I spoke to my mom yesterday. She lives so far away, and I can’t get there. She can’t get here. I miss her. So often I wish I had never moved away.  It is really hard on me to live so far from my mom.  I need her.

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