So here I am. I’m laying it out there for all to see. Its not a pretty story, full of mistakes and learning but its mine. I hope that someone out there can relate.
I’m a pretty regular person I think. My name is Tricia. Born in Woodstock Ontario, to Wolfgang(yep you read it right) and Cynthia in 1981. Parents eventually divorced and we moved to London. Then again in London. Then to Kirkland Lake. And finally to Cobalt where my Mum remarried to my stepfather Richard. Four elementary schools in four years. Not a great time but we survived and in the end I guess it made my backbone stronger. Near the end of high school, I ended up living with my Father in Kitchener and his common law partner in 1999 which is where I met Jake, my husband. We actually met in a chatroom on the internet. HAHA! Had my first babe at 21, Skylar in 2002. We lived in his mother’s basement in a one bedroom apartment. Cheap and it did the trick (thanks Deb if you’re reading this). Eventually I got tired of working at Tim Hortons for crummy pay and applied to nursing school. It was hope on a limb, as I was still four credits shy of graduating high school. But! Mohawk college accepted me to their Practical Nursing due to my exemplary (ahem) grades in physics. So off we moved to Hamilton and 18 long months later I was a Registered Practical Nurse. Shortly thereafter, I began to work at the St Josephs Centre for Mountain Health which is a psychiatric facility. I work in Schizophrenia services. Mostly I enjoy my job but I longed for something more, more opportunities. In 2006 came Casey Nicole, another little girl. Jake and I married in September of that year. In 2008 Timothy was born, weighing 9 lbs, 15 oz. Finally Jake had his boy!
Everything about Timothy was beautiful and he had a wonderful demeanor. He breastfed as long as I could keep him full and ate well. Timothy didn’t crawl, he walked. He met the typical milestones until approximately 9 months.
Things began to change shortly after his first birthday. It was as if he hit a wall. Timothy withdrew socially. From everyone and everything. He preferred to play alone and showed no interest in his sisters or anyone else for that matter. Where had my bright and happy boy gone? Timothy stopped eating pretty much everything and hated to wear clothing, including diapers. He would pull and rip at his clothes…..it made no difference what he wore, he wanted it off. He would make odd gestures at objects.
Fast forward to that fateful Dr’s appointment. Me, blubbering like an infant. Mercifully that ended the appointment and I was handed my(his) fate on a small appointment card. We were being referred to a pediatrician. In my heart of hearts, I still held hope that things would be alright and that I would wake up from this terrible nightmare.
No such luck. Six long months later and we were sitting in another Dr’s office. Ninety minutes later in his office and he said the words that I will never forget and even tear up typing. Your son is autistic.
Once again, the floodgates opened and I wept in that office. I wept for my child, I wept for my family and I wept for what I thought was lost. For you see, life wasn’t over for him. Timothy was not dying, but at that very moment I was grieving. I grieved for almost a year. I couldn’t talk about his diagnosis without crying and just thinking about what could have been sent me off the ledge. My husband seemed unaffected on the outside and often told me “he’ll be fine” or “he will grow out of it”. I began talking to God. I was angry. What did I do to deserve this? People would say to me, “God wouldn’t have given you a special needs child if he thought you couldn’t handle it.” Really? Cause I don’t seem to be “handling” anything very well.
I’m going to end this entry with my thoughts on Timothy’s diagnosis. He is NOT autistic. He is more than just autism. Timothy HAS autism. That is not all he is. He is so much more!