Yesterday, when I was cleaning up a pile of clutter, I found an old calendar I had had made, one of those Shutterfly type things where you pick pictures of your family to use. It was beat up, from having been lying around, but the pictures were still enough to prompt Tony to say something I don't think I've ever heard him say before---"What happened?" He was looking at pictures of Janey (here's one)
Here's another picture from that calendar...
And then the trip. We drove cross-country---6 days out and 6 days back, staying out there for a week in between. Janey left for that trip not autistic. She came back autistic. She turned 3 during the trip. Whatever was waiting to happen to her brain happened then. I don't think the trip caused her autism, but we wrack our brains to think if anything happened. Did she somehow have a stroke from being in the car a lot? She's had an MRI since then, and there were no signs of a stroke. We stopped often, but could that have happened? Was she so tramautized by all the hotels and different houses it changed her somehow? It hardly seems likely. Was she too bored in the car? Freddy sat next to her the whole way, and interacted with her constantly. My best guess is what was going to happen had already started to happen, and the trip just somehow rushed it, or was coincidentally at the same time.
There are a few videos of Janey pre-autism. I wish I could share them with you here, but I can't. I can't watch them at all. I tried, once. I fell apart. I screamed. It was too hard.
I love the Janey I have, but I loved that other Janey too. Of course she's the same person, but Tony's question, one we don't allow ourselves to ask often, is heartbreaking. What did happen?
Here's one last picture of Janey from the calendar, before I put it away and not look at it for a while.