The Veteran’s Day we observe today is a day of honor and remembrance. To appreciate the valiant and to pay tribute to the lives lost. To be grateful for those who have bravely fought, won and ensured our freedom.
A lot of times in our autism community you will hear about two groups of parents: the newbies (those just receiving their child’s diagnosis) and the old-timer or veterans (those who have for years been trudging through, or dealing with, muck, red tape, school battles, incompetent specialists, ignorant family members or unbelieving friends). Our own community doesn’t (yet) have a commemorative day set aside for Herculean efforts we veteran parents have put forth for our children, for their care, for their needs or for their hopeful recovery. And, I pray we never have a day like that!
Of course I pray for the day that our children’s suffering will be recognized. I pray that those who have lost their lives because of their condition, or what triggered it, will not have died in vain. I pray that our children’s health will no longer be jeopardized and disregarded. I pray that our leaders will finally take a stand to publicly acknowledge the epidemic of sicknesses that are taking our children’s future away. I also pray that these leaders will one day take some action to protect our children’s health and future. When all of that happens, it will not be a day of remembering but that of celebrating.
As a “veteran” parent of a severely affected little boy, today I wish to thank our nation’s unsung military heroes for what they’ve done for me. Their mission to protect and preserve my freedom so that I can live freely in this country is one of the greatest gifts I have and one that I will never take for granted. While I never imagined how different the parenting that I must do for my own children is compared to that of the typical parent I thought I’d be, I am forever thankful to be their mother, to love them to bits and pieces and to have the liberty to do everything I can for them.
Everyone has had to trudge through their own battlefield at some point. Whether it be through muck, red tape or ignorance, remember that someone else’s life played a role in your ability to persevere through it. Take a moment today to honor and respect that life; for your future, and mine, certainly depends on it.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.