December 19, 1996
Hi honey, it’s yourself, 18 years in the future.
I’m writing you this letter on your son’s 9th birthday to let you know that everything is going to be all right and to show you a picture.
Look what happens 18 years from today. Your baby boy is a Virginia Tech grad. Can you believe it?
I know right now, you can’t believe it. Things are not going well on the motherhood front.
Your biggest fear right now is that the grad in the photo is headed for trouble, real trouble. Your days are busy chasing interventions, therapies, special diets, and programs that may turn things around. You have no dreams of graduation. You have dreams of avoiding jail. Life is scary right now.
But look at how far you’ve come already. Since the first diagnosis of autism at age three, your baby has learned to talk, read, write, and tolerate new situations. He’s going to move on and make the honor roll soon. He will eventually break out of that fight-or-flight reaction and learn to manage his stress well enough to really enjoy high school. His college entrance essay will make you cry.
And as you can see in the photo, he’s going to be a Virginia Tech graduate, just like the grandfather for whom he is named.
So hang in there, mama. Trust your gut. You have the stuff, girlfriend.