What does autism look like?
It looks like putting your 25-month-olds on a public school bus just three weeks after an initial diagnosis.
It looks like leaving your job of 15 years.
It looks like afternoons spent in a waiting room, relishing the quiet, but also the camaraderie of other parents who understand.
It looks like stacks of paperwork on every surface.
It looks like private swimming lessons in a therapeutic pool.
It looks like eating hot dogs at every meal after carefully preparing their first foods from fresh organic produce and vowing never to let them eat processed junk.
It looks like holes in the wall—from furniture, from toys, from shoes—from anything that isn't bolted to the ground.
It looks like piles of well-worn books and bins of never-played-with toys.
It looks like not leaving the house unless you have an extra set of hands (and legs!) to help keep everyone on task.
It looks like doing all of the things you said you would never ever do before you had kids (let them watch TV, have a sippy cup of milk in bed, use candy as an incentive) because you have to pick your battles.
It looks like leaving family functions early and cancelling playdates.
It looks like smiles in the morning. It looks like “fishlip” kisses at bedtime.
It looks like the loves of my life.
By Erin Clotfelter, mom of Lincoln and Wyatt, 4, Judah, 2