I Go Back to Our Diagnosis Day in My Mind, But Here’s Why I Don’t Stay Long


TJ was diagnosed with autism in August of 2002.

It’s easy to go back to that sad, scary day. In an instant I am sitting on that couch with Sean, hearing those words, “He has autism.” And in an instant I feel that mix of pain, relief and complete grief.

I felt pain and grief for dreams we had to say goodbye to, and for a future we envisioned that was not to be. But I felt relief because finally, after months of knowing something wasn’t right, we could begin to help our boy.

Although I can be back there in an instant, with one single thought, I don’t stay for long. Now, a world away, we have a very capable almost 15-year-old (“A month and 3 days until my birthday mom!”).

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He is in high school.

He gets himself from class to class.

He studies.

He does homework.

He bathes himself.

He dresses himself.

He has friends.  Good ones.

He texts with his brother. They razz each other back and forth.

He loves raunchy movies. Not too raunchy (think “Dodgeball”).

He loves to repeat the worst lines of those raunchy movies.

He laughs.

He smiles.

He loves.

He is TJ. He is his own growing, changing kid. He is amazing.

So while we think of that day almost 13 years ago, we don’t stay there for very long because there is no need to. He is forming his own future, with our help. And we can’t wait to see what happens next.

A version of this post originally appeared on I Don’t Have a Job

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