The Drive Home
I do not remember anything else about the diagnosis appointment beyond being given a thick packet of information about autism, being told that we could come back in a year "if we wanted to..." (For what? Do do what? We weren't told that), and wishing us well. The full autism diagnosis was not a surprise (as opposed to the more generic catch-all of PDD-NOS), but nevertheless it hit like a brick wall and we were stunned. Numbed might be a better word, actually.
I don't remember leaving, I don't remember getting in the car. What I do remember is at some point on the drive south on 37 back to Bloomington, we acknowledged that we had to call the family to let them know. They were anxiously awaiting word. And I remember feeling so awkward about how to tell them. I didn't want to make the calls. I knew our family would be nothing but supportive and loving. But I barely had the energy to summon the ability to even speak much. And once we told them, their lives would be changed too. It wasn't just our dreams that were going to have to be changed from that moment on, but theirs as well. And what do you say beyond "Well, he has autism"? But it's okay? But we're great? Because it wasn't and we weren't.
I struggled not knowing how to balance these facts: Thomas had not changed one bit from the kid he was that morning. He sat in the back seat, just like he always did. Nothing had changed for him. He was that same wonderful child. But just about everything else had changed for us. The child I had wished for all my life and that Rob & I we had planned for, eagerly anticipated and joyfully anticipated raising was autistic. And we had not one clue what to do next. The future yawned before us completely unknown. It was a long drive home.