This photo was taken before the word “autism” entered our lives. I miss that blissful innocence sometimes—not knowing that Charlie was going to struggle with the most basic things for the rest of his life.
I miss not knowing the word “mama” would never echo in our home.
I yearn for the times when I didn’t know safety would become a constant worry.
I ache for the ignorance of a time when Charlie didn’t eat non-edible items at a rate of once every 1 minute and 30 seconds.
I miss not knowing that Charlie wouldn’t be able to communicate if and where he hurts.
I mourn the days, free from the ActuallyAutistic who would later harass me for speaking about my son’s severe autism—a level they don’t believe exists.
I miss not knowing that a decade later, I’d still be bathing and changing diapers.
I wish I could go back to a time when bless my heart, I ignored how much I’d have to fight for Charlie to be accepted and included.
I miss the unawareness of the self-injurious behaviors that would become part of our daily struggles.
I miss the shattered expectations of motherhood, replaced by a challenging reality.
Yet, through it all, Charlie has become my greatest teacher. I’ve learned to appreciate every milestone, no matter how small, and to find gratitude in what is, rather than what I once wished for.
But above all, in the extremes of his behaviors, I’ve discovered an unconditional love that transcends the challenges we face. ❤️