The other evening, I watched you intently observing the sunset on our balcony. As usual, you didn’t say a word, but you had such a pensive and serious expression on your face. As the last westward shining rays of light of the day cast your elongated shadow on the balcony floor, I had to wonder what was going through your mind at the time.
I have known for some time now that you have never been a typical child. You are far too sweet and innocent to be “typical.” But with your special traits has come an unexpected set of other characteristics; among these, a notable lack of words.
For a long time, Daddy and I were unsure of the reason for your speech delay and your other quirks and nuances. Finally, we received an answer that left us with even more questions: autism spectrum disorder (known here in Argentina as trastorno del espectro autista). To make things even more confusing, it was a special kind of ASD: NOS (not otherwise specified).
Especially at the beginning, it was hard, so hard to understand and to accept. After all, you are my precious boy, and to know the challenges that this diagnosis imply that you will probably face scares me. But it is something that we will face together as a family.
It is also difficult to come for me to terms with the unplanned, the unpredictable, and the unexpected that ASD brings. But what’s that line from Mommy’s favorite song? “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.”
You are different from your classmates, but that is not necessarily always a bad thing. You don’t tattle-tale, you aren’t rude, you’re not selfish, you don’t have a mean bone in your body. You are simply Sebi – Happy and funny, innocent and as sweet as can be.
I am not upset with you for having ASD; rather, in my moments of frustration, I am upset with myself for my own shortcomings. There is NOTHING “wrong” with you. You are who you are and what you are, and I love you because of this (not despite it). I have to be perfectly honest – I am desperately afraid of failing you. All I want to do is for you to feel loved, protected, and proud of who you are. I want you to know that Daddy and I will always have your back, we will always love you and support you. But sometimes I fear that what I do is not enough.
Nevertheless, you have come and continue to come such a long way from the Sebastian that I knew a year ago, a month ago, or even yesterday. Witnessing you evolve into the wonderful boy has been incredible, and it makes me realize how lucky I am to call you mine.
Do I wish you were “normal”? I have to be completely honest; even though I wish you could speak and understand more, I love you just as you are, more than you’ll ever know. And what is normal, anyways? What does that even mean? Mommy is certainly not normal. Daddy is not normal, either. I only want you to be Sebastian. Perhaps the path we will have to take to get to where we want to go may not be straightforward and simple, but my hopes and dreams for you are still the same.
I love you, Seba.