“This is a marathon, not a sprint,” Richard and I remind each other on a regular basis. I have written before about how when Emma was first diagnosed we were given a great many reassurances that while Emma certainly needed early intervention, many who worked with her felt sure she would be mainstreamed by the time she was in Kindergarten. When the day for her to enter Kindergarten came and went we began to slowly go through the process of realizing 1) no one knew what lay ahead 2) no one was any better at predicting how Emma would develop cognitively or neurologically and 3) we needed to pace ourselves because Emma’s future was an enormous question mark.
During those years I rarely thought about Emma being a teenager, going through adolescence or what it might mean to have a young autistic adult living with us. I was too focused on all her therapies, learning as much as I could, trying to find specialists who might help her, to spend much time contemplating the distant future. As time went on and after countless parent/teacher conferences where the reports were less than stellar, despite all they were doing at school and all we were doing at home, it occurred to us that we were in this for the long haul with no guarantees of any definitive outcome.
As with a marathon, we have learned we must pace ourselves. And as with running, the more I am able to remain present and in the moment, the better off I feel and am. Emma spends ninety percent of her time in the moment. She has achieved what eludes most of us.
Emma this morning
For more on Emma and autism go to: www.EmmasHopeBook.com