Menopausal mom to 2 young adult sons (one with ASD, ADHD, tic/seizure disorders and the other with attitude).

Monday, 11 February 2013

What If???

Two little words in Riley World that have so much more attached to them. 





Two little words I must have said a hundred gazillion times back in the early years. (OK. Slight exaggeration probably only a couple million times.)   

What if we had started therapy earlier?

What if we had done more therapy?

What if we had tried ‘X’ therapy?

What if…

Two little words that would send me running full speed ahead into my cave. 

Two little words that were always there in the back of my mind. 

Yet why if it caused me so much stress, guilt, anxiety and self-doubt did I keep asking myself “what if”???

I wanted Riley to be successful.

I wanted Riley to be happy.

I wanted Riley to be the best that he could be.

So what was the difference in Riley World?  What parent doesn't want that for their child. Right?  For us the difference was that our choices could make the difference for Riley.

The difference between being able to be communicate or not communicate.

The difference between being able to attend school or not attend school.

The difference between being able to manage behaviours or risk self-injurious behaviours.

Some of these differences (along with others) continue to be a work in progress.

There was such a huge unknown and it was too overwhelming for me to look 5-10 years down the road into Riley World so instead I could not help but look back and wonder "what if".

Now it has been almost 14 years since Riley’s diagnosis. Knowing that nothing will change what we did or did not do, do I still ask myself “what if?”  You bet I do!  Only now it is not a hundred times a day. 

So what is the difference now? I am almost 14 years older. Eeep. When did THAT happen?!? What we were working towards with Riley is here. Sure I still occasionally ask myself “what if”. Only now the two little words I find myself asking more often are “what will” as in what will happen when we are no longer here.


You better believe it. (This is where I would usually run off to my cave.) Only now I have to force myself to stay put and deal with my stress, guilt, anxiety and self-doubt.

I am not nearly as prepared as others.

I am not nearly as prepared as I should be.

I am doing the best that I can and hopefully that will be enough going forward because Riley is done looking back. 


  1. I've switched from the what if to what will too. It's amazing what several years did for me to readjust my thinking. I still think what if but now I just try the best I can for him and I'm good with that.

    1. I so agree with you. It has taken a good many years to come to this point. It's now full on looking ahead. *sobbing* :)

  2. I love that pic :) "What if" is so scary, in fact I think I always shut myself down from ever trying to ask or answer it. Because we can only travel one path, and thinking about all the others that don't even exist seems pointless and overwhelming like you say.

    1. I think we should ban those two "little" words from the being used unproductive. Are you with me???

  3. I went through a short 'what if" stage because my son wasn't diagnosed until 8th grade. Lots of time lost! I thought "what if he'd only been diagnosed earlier!" But then I realized there wasn't much available for him or known here about Asperger's even if he had been diagnosed earlier. He's 20. He got what he could and that's all we could do and so far so good.

    1. Wow...20! Riley will be 19 in a few months. Good to hear that your son is doing well. Sounds like you've got the looking ahead thing all figured out. Good on you. :)

  4. He is so handsome!!!!!

    Those two words haunt me. I have to ignore that inner voice of what if. When I say it's haunted me, it's been more of a demonic presence lol. All of my 'what if's' come from.. doing TOO much. Diving into the biomedical community and trying to play doctor, hurt him. ABA, broke him. Moving across the country chasing a "cure" and having to always start over, hurt us all. It's so hard to not wonder had I just approached it all differently, would it have made a difference? I hate those two words.
    The best, is all we have to give them. Consciously, I just keep reminding myself of what IS because, what IS, isn't bad at all :)

    1. Maybe we should collaborate on having these two words striken from the special needs vocabulary. They were pretty much the cause of most of my stress in those early years. Eeep.

      Forward and onward we go. :D

  5. I love that photo! It's so hard not to second guess ourselves but I'm sure you did the very best you could. We finally did do a living will/trust because of the kids and that's a big load off!

    1. Second guessing ourselves must come with being a parent. Good on you for getting a living will/trust in place! We definitely NEED to do that too. Eeep.

  6. I can stay up all night worrying about the what ifs myself...We really shouldn't. We're doing the best we can :)

    1. You're absolutely right...we shouldn't but...

      One day/month/year at a time. Right??? :)

      Thanks Lisa! D