Have a Nice Day

“So,” a co-worker asked me on Tuesday, “did you have a nice day off?”

“Well . . .” I started and then hesitated.

“You’re supposed say, ‘Yes, it was great. I wasn’t here,’” she laughed in response.

There are worse things than coming to work, I thought.

***

“Nice” would not be the first word that comes to mind when describing Monday.  Of course, I don’t think there is a single word that could capture the roller coaster of emotions that I experienced that day. I’ve never discussed Philip with this particular co-worker, so responding to her question about my day off with, “I found out my son has autism” would have been socially awkward.

That being said, maybe I should make a list of what was “nice” about Monday:

  1. I didn’t have to go to work.
  2. It was sunny.
  3. I not only got to take Philip to preschool, I got to spend the morning there observing him.
  4. One of the girls in Philip’s class thought my picture of a dinosaur was pretty good.
  5. Another girl told me I could write her a note or email any time now that she had taught me how to spell her name.
  6. My mom was more than happy to watch Philip for us while we went to our appointment.
  7. Peter and I had a nice meal out by ourselves using a gift card from a different co-worker.
  8. Peter and I had time to talk about a variety of things in the car without the distraction of Philip throwing something or doing something potentially injurious.
  9. Unlike our first trip there, the drive to the Autism Center and back was a piece of cake-light traffic, good weather and we found our way with no problems.
  10. As the doctor went through the results of Philip’s autism screening, she not only pointed out his areas of delay, but also his strengths.
  11. When the doctor confirmed that Philip has autism, Peter and I were able to receive the news together.

It would be neither healthy nor productive to make a list of all the things that were “bad” about Monday. However, I’m not sure if “bad” properly encapsulates any of my experiences either.

***

I called my best friend on Tuesday to let her know about Philip’s diagnosis. She asked me how I was doing. That made me cry, but I’m far from falling apart. For one thing, the diagnosis is not a surprise. I’ve had my suspicions since before Philip turned two. For another, falling apart would be a waste of time and energy and be of no use to Philip. Finally, I have to agree with my friend. She has a chronic disease with no cure and can relate to the situation better than most. She put it this way: “A diagnosis is information, and information is power.”

***

So, would I have rather been at work on Monday then where I was? No, not really. Was the reason I took the day off “nice?” No, not really.

Have a nice day.

This is the final post that I wrote about the autism screening process. I’m linking it up with the yeah write #148 weekend moonshine grid. Thank you to those visitors from yeah write who have been following along.

Re-reading this, I feel like this post is full of bitterness and defeat. However, I think it is important for others to know that was my attitude at the time. Click here to read a post written for the “Love Not Fear” flash blog event that describes my current attitude toward autism.

17 thoughts on “Have a Nice Day

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. I had a difficult time when my little one was labeled developmentally delayed. No one seem to understand what I was feeling and sometimes I didn’t know what to feel. Best of luck to you and your family.
    Gwenael

  2. I’m really proud of the both of you.. especially you for acting on your suspicions and sharing your experience for everyone to read. I felt really alone and unable to relate to a lot of people in my life when my child was diagnosed. However, by allowing myself time to let all the negative emotions out, I was able to refocus and really help my son. Keep talking, blogging and gather information when you can. It was only through educating myself even more beyond what I already knew (A’s father had Asperger’s) that I was able to educate others like my own Father.

    One day at a time, OK? :)

  3. Thank you both for reading the post and taking the time to reply. This has been a challenging week, but so many friends (and now, even strangers via blog comments) are offering words of support that it gives me hope.

  4. What a fantastic and honest post. There are others who know and understand what you are feeing since we’ve gone through it as well. Sharing your experience will help so many others down the road and while this journey will be a different one than you originally thought, it will be an amazing one as well. Thank you for your post!

  5. Oh man, the irony in the “have a nice day” comment. I really felt it.
    On the plus side, I love what your friend said about information as being powerful – so true! And so profound that you were able to understand that at just the right time. Sometimes keeping perspective is so very challenging.

  6. I lost 5 babies before my daughter was born, so I can relate to your feelings about not wanting to share too much with coworkers after absence from work. I really appreciate what you are sharing with us and I feel it’s very helpful… on a brighter note, I love nice reason nbr. 5!

  7. I’m with Natalie on this one. “A diagnosis is information, and information is power.” Great way of looking at it.

    And…reading your more recent posts—sounds like you’ve come quite some way in this journey. Hope you enjoy your weekend with the boy who’s easy to love!

  8. I really appreciate you being very open, honest and detailed in sharing your experience. I am so glad you were both able to hear the diagnosis together. When my son was 15 months he was diagnosed with profound expressive speech delay. I’d been trying since he was 6 months old to get some evals and answers but he wasn’t “behind enough”. As an early childhood educator I had known for months what the diagnosis would be but hearing it coming out of someone’s mouth for the first time was soul crushing.

  9. Cyn, not once during my reading of this post did I think of “bitterness” or ” defeat”. This piece of your writing is filled with honesty and heart. It sounds like you and Peter are a strong team. I’m glad that you have the support of each other, family, and a great best friend. Philip is lucky too. It sounds like he hit the parent jackpot!

    #4 and #5 on your list are so sweet and funny : )

  10. Kellie has rule: You have to say three positive things for each negative one. I’m forever violating the rule but you seem to have down. I’m with the knowledge is power crowd. Now you can do what’s best for your son.

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