This day was Hard. Capital H Hard. It kicked my @ss, as a matter of fact.
One thing I've discovered in the course of living the insanity that is my life, though, is this: Not all Hard things are good, but almost without exception, all good things are Hard.
Getting married (and working at a happy marriage) is Hard. Learning (and maintaining that knowledge) is Hard. Having (and raising) kids is Hard.
And today, leaving our therapy program behind was Hard.
Yes, I just winced in typing that sentence. Leaving something behind sounds so FINAL.
And maybe, in the context of full-time-program-therapy, it is.
But allow me to rephrase, because the end of the "program" is about the only thing final in this situation.
There's nothing final about the lessons learned in those halls. Nothing final about a set of parents and an autistic child learning--TOGETHER--how to navigate life from a new perspective. One neither felt anywhere close to being prepared for.
There is nothing final about leaving the people who have loved your child as their own. Who have bandaged his scrapes, soothed his fears and dried his tears. The people who have taught your child (and his parents) that he need not live a life restricted by his fears, or bound by the frustration of barriers in communication.
There is nothing final about leaving the memories made with those people--the silly songs you never thought you'd hear your child sing, the friends you never thought he'd make, the funny stories excitedly recounted at the end of the day.
There's nothing final about leaving people who would write such a wealth of heartfelt goodbye notes that they would leave that child's mother crying in the drive-through of a fast food restaurant. With carhops staring.
(It's possible that I may be gaining a reputation, by the way.)
In that other Hard time following little C's diagnosis, I found myself unable to look at baby pictures of him. Of course, they are scattered all over my desk at work, and I remember coming in to the office that first day after that fateful appointment.
I stared at them. And cried, as I was wont to do.
As I looked at his tiny face at three months, six months, nine months--a year, I couldn't stop myself from agonizing.
Was that the moment? That one? What about that one? Was he "okay" there, smiling up at the camera? What about there, examining that Easter egg so closely? That baby was healthy, happy, HE WAS GOING TO BE OKAY.
I didn't know the answer to that then, staring at those pictures through my tears. This week, as I assembled thank-you gifts for his therapists, I looked at those pictures again, and knew it. Really knew it.
That baby's going to be okay, and you don't ever really say goodbye to the people who have taught you that.
There was nothing FINAL about the goodbyes said today.
So allow me to rephrase...
If I only had the words.