Tomorrow I become the parent I swore I would never be.
When Jamie was diagnosed with autism, I swore I would never let it define him, let him be told he can't do something because of it, would never let anyone look down on him.
Tomorrow I break my promise to myself and him.
Tomorrow he starts riding the county school bus with an aide and in a harness. The short bus. With all the connotations that comes with.
I know it's for his own safety. He's had issues with keeping him seat belt on and will take it off and run around the bus when they're taking him to school. I know this way he'll be secure, won't be able to hurt himself, will have someone to help him transition from daycare to school.
But tomorrow he joins the ranks of the "kid on the short bus." Any semblance of him being like anyone else will be stripped away when they put that damn vest on him and parade him out to the short bus.
Tomorrow is when the boys really start to go off in two different directions.
Tomorrow is when autism takes him from me, he starts down a road that I don't know where the hell it will lead. A road that means I may not be able to be there for him. A road where he will forever be "different."
I know it's a bus. It's no big deal. But it is for me.
For months now, I've watched Jamie regress. The vocalizations get more frequent, louder, lasting longer. The manic behavior is more pronounced and frequent. The anger simmering right there on the surface. The problems at school getting more frequent.
I don't want this, I want to stop it, I want to make him the cute OCD baby he used to be. I don't want his life to be hard. I don't want for him to carry a stigma, I don't want people to find weakness in him. I don't want people to mistreat him because he's different. I don't want to have to put him in a "special" school. And I can see where this road begins.
Tomorrow I put him on it.