Capturing Memories: A Journey Before and After Autism Diagnosis

IMG_20160711_215456 (1)

Pictures, pictures, and more pictures. I’ve been taking them since my parents gifted me my first camera on my ninth birthday. This was before smartphones and the frenzy of capturing every moment took hold.

I love it.

Sometimes, after the exhausting bedtime routine, I lie in bed and gaze at pictures of my kids. Yes, the same kids I am constantly with. The ones I just prayed would fall asleep, granting me some alone time.

Suddenly, in the quiet and darkness of my room, I miss them.

When I look at baby pictures of Jesse, it stirs a conflicting feeling that tugs at my heart.

I reminisce about how adorable and tiny he was, how I miss having a little baby, but it also feels like another era. A time before knowing something was different.

Before knowing about autism.

Back then, there was so much hope. So many possibilities.

Life seemed so much more certain and typical. Now, our whole world seems to have contracted in so many ways. Fewer people, less space, less certainty.

These pictures remind me of a simpler time;

Before I knew that those fussy nights would persist much longer than they led us to believe.

Before he transitioned from responding to his name some of the time to never responding, and the handful of words he had would come and go.

Our world would become a constant cycle of progress and regression.

Back then, I had no inkling that I would be filling out countless professional forms that described my child’s behavior as “odd” and “strange”.

I had never imagined myself crying on the way home from soccer practice, church, and family events because my child would not participate. Sometimes, he would scream and cry, or hide in a corner the entire time.

I didn’t foresee that the plans we had for every sport and activity would be supplanted by therapies and explanations. Explanations about him, us, and autism.

Although, now that we are slowly turning the corner towards acceptance, I see more.

I can see that before, I did not comprehend how much I would learn. How it would make us better parents and individuals. I would have never anticipated how much I would change. My patience, love, and acceptance of others have grown tenfold. All thanks to Jesse.

I did not realize that our victories in life would mean little to others but the world to us. The first time Jesse said “Hi, mom” so casually at four, I cried. The first time he jumped with joy about something, my heart soared. The day he finally mastered potty training brought me the greatest relief I may ever feel. His smile could change the world.

Before autism, I did not grasp how much larger my heart could become and how full it could be.

Many days are difficult. There are meltdowns, frustrations, isolation, worry, and confusion.

Then there are moments of incredible joy. The moments that sustain us. The small victories carry us through the weeks and months. Before autism, I had no idea that was possible.
Written by Jaime Ramos of Jaime Ramos Writes
Avatar photo

Jaime Ramos

Jaime Ramos, is a wife and mom from Colorado. She's married to her best friend, Isaac, and they have two kids. Her oldest is seven and autistic. She mainly writes about her a-typical parenting journey. Jaime is a blogger at Jaime Ramos Writes and co-host on the Table for Five, No Reservations Podcast. She wants to spread the word that spreading love and awareness is key to acceptance.

Share this post: