He was excited and thrilled. I was a nervous wreck.
W is my firstborn. The child that first stole my heart and held it in his tiny little fist. The child that I spent two hours a day rocking, while stroking his forehead, and singing "Hello Goodbye" to over and over and over.
It wasn't until he was born that I understood what it means to love someone so fiercely, so deeply that it actually hurts. At W's 2 year old check up appointment, his pediatrician was concerned that he was showing warning signs of Autism. During the next few months, Seth and I had W evaluated. We cried. We enrolled him in preschool. We prayed and cried some more. We got him into speech therapy and prayed some more. We anxiously watched him interact with children his own age, videotaped him playing with his toys, and downplayed how worried we really were. The fear of Autism, the fear that something could be "wrong" with my child, something that I couldn't fix, was overwhelming.
Today, my boy barely resembles that introverted 2 year old who raised his doctor's concern. However, I still carry a piece of that uncertainty, that fear, with me. I worry how he will react in a new situation, if he'll participate, and am concerned that he won't fit in and will be an "outsider". I think every parent has these types of worries, but for me it comes from that possible Autism diagnosis, the possibility that my child is not who I expected him to be.
I have always believed that sports and athletics will be key for W. Team sports and shared interests will be the bridge that connects him to others. He is naturally well coordinated, has uncannily good hand/eye coordination, and enjoys being active. Judging by his first TBall practice (which I watched anxiously and nervously) - he'll be fine. He was eager to participate, listened well to his coaches, and had fun. I think it might be time to finally let all those fears go. My boy is who he is, and I couldn't be more proud or love him anymore.