This Is Our New Normal, by Jeanine Phelps

Sometimes you look up and there just seems to be so many more stars that ever before. More. They burn brighter and they shine longer and they never vanish into your periphery when you turn your head. It’s as if they come out for us and to remind us that their light took so long to come to us, that if we never had the patience to wait, we never would have seen them here, tonight, like this.

That as much as it hurts, sometimes it’s all you can do, wait, endure and keep shining, knowing that eventually, your light will reach where it is supposed to reach and shine for who it is supposed to shine for.

It is never easy, but it is always worth it.
— Tyler Knott Gregson,

Sweet Juliana. 

Your green eyes of wonder. Your wavy mess of hair. Your quirky sense of humor. 

It is all magical. 

It is all perfect. 

Last month we received the diagnosis. I remember the words coming out of the doctors mouth. They hit my ears with deafening fear. 

High functioning autism spectrum disorder. 

I remember fighting back tears. I kept my cool. I'm sure we had a conversation, that doctor and I, but the next thing I fully remember is walking out the door and you reaching up for my hand like you always do. 

So many emotions...why? huh? now what? It's not like I left with a wealth of information and a positive outlook. I mean, I knew deep down this was coming, but now what happens?

Looking back over the last 7 1/2 years so many things now make sense. 

Little things. 

How impossible it has always been to brush your hair. 

How potty training didn't happen until way after you turned 3. 

The few foods you will eat. 

The clothing options you have to have. 

But at the time, I didn't think twice. 

"She's picky," they said. "She is stubborn, she'll grow out of it", they said.

But now I know all of those things are part of how we walked out of that doctors office, your tiny hand in mine, with this diagnosis. 

I have guilt. I have fear. Sadness. Overwhelming thoughts of WHAT NOW!

You however, my sweet Juliana, have none of those things. 

You are still stubborn and I love it. 

You are the most literal child I've ever met. 

You are way too smart for your own good.

You make your father laugh constantly with your quick witted humor. 

You love SO HARD and even though the hugs are becoming less, I still FEEL that love. 

I do know this. 

I will not be ashamed. I will not lie to you. 

We are a team. You, me, daddy and Isa.

This is our new normal. 

Life continues the same. All that is different is how I help you. 

Help you to understand the differences. Help spread awareness to others. 

Because of you, I am learning to slow down. 

I am enjoying every time you look me in the eyes, as those moments are fleeting. 

I am becoming a better parent. 

A better person, because of you Juliana. 

You're green eyes of wonder. Your wavy mess of hair. Your quirky sense of humor. 

It is all magical. 

It is all perfect. 

I love you sugar bear. 


xoxo, mommy

Spectrum Inspired.