to a newly diagnosed parent

October 20th. One year and one day after Noah's diagnosis. And surprisingly, yesterday was a little harder for me then I had anticipated. But an evening spent with family fixed that right up.

We're in a really good place with Noah. He is doing things that I didn't know when or if he would do. Almost every day, someone in our lives tells me something new & exciting he has done. It's amazing. He has come so far. We all have really.

And I can't say things are easier, however I feel I have a better handle on it all. We understand Noah more, and how to navigate the hard situations. And I'm always remembering in our world, once you figure one thing out, a new greater challenge will arise. Which is okay, it's one step forward two steps back, but we're still moving forward, even if it takes longer to get there. We've learned so much. And although Noah still has no words, and may have some behaviors, we are night & day from this day last year.

And I'm not one to give advice or anything, but I wanted to share a few things that have been on my heart lately for anyone who is newly diagnosed. First and most importantly, I want you to know your kid is still your kid. And an autism diagnosis doesn't change that. All the amazing, wonderful and happy they are, they still are.

Know that the labels and IEPs are necessary to help your child, no matter how much they hurt.

You might be nervous to say my child has autism for the first time out loud. I was. I actually had a couple drinks and awkwardly just blurted it out to someone I was casually chatting with. Not ideal, but you gotta get the first one out and then each time after it's easier and more natural.

Try not to waste too much time waiting for things to get better. Or for things to be "fixed." Your little one is fine. Really they are. And if you're always searching for who they will be, you'll miss who they already are dancing right in front of you.

And lastly, never give up on your kid. No matter what. Never stop believing in them. Our kids are capable of greatness, and it will shine when you pour a heck of a lot of love into them. But most importantly, believe in them, always.

So on the hard days, the brink of insanity days, hold on just a little bit longer. Because your one year and one day will come too. It may not be tomorrow, or the tomorrow after that. But it will come, because we all get our tomorrows.

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