As you open your eyes this morning, even if your day started at some ridiculous hour because of your child, I had a thought I needed to share with you: no one but you knows what it takes to be the mother of a child like yours. No one understands his health needs like you do. No one prepares his enzymes, supplements or allergen-free foods like you have done for years. No one sits through hours of therapy appointments like you have and will continue to do. No one stays up late at night reading message boards discussing speech therapy, parasite protocols and IEP meeting strategy. No one. What you do for that child of yours is amazing.
Today is your day. Enjoy it. Soak in it. Revel in the attention. You might be showered with millions of smiles accompanied with hand-made gifts from your typical kids. You might receive flowers to brighten your day. A box of chocolates wrapped just right will taste delicious as you savor its tasty indulgence. Someone, or several someones are shining today’s spotlight on you. Take it all in today. Be that typical Mother you still dream of being to all of your children because tomorrow you will return to reality. A reality where no one truly knows what it takes to be a mother of a child like yours.
No one knows your child inside and out like you do. No one sees his potential like you do. No one feels excitement from a milestone achieved like you do. No one shouts to the rooftops about his gains like you do. No one stands prouder for that child than you. With your support and encouragement you have earned the chance to shine alongside your child.
When the shine fades, as it has in certain situations, you better believe no one knows your child like you do. No one has the keen sense of hearing you do that lets you know a door has been opened that should have been locked. No one hears your child’s painful cry and can instantly pinpoint what is bothering him like you do. No one suffers silently like you do when he’s been rejected by his peers on the playground. No one knows that child of yours like you do.
That child has formed your thoughts, your passion and your actions. That child has created parts of you that can never be removed. Mother that child. Mother him well. Mother him even on the days that are excruciating, unbearable and endless. Mother him when you feel like you can’t take it anymore. Mother him when you think you feel like you are on the verge of walking away. Mother him because no one else knows your child like you do.
Your child brought you to where you are today. Your child is the link to another Mother’s discovery that her child is also sick and needs help. Your child is the focus of another Mother’s determination. Your child’s progress and gains have become the key for another Mother to unlock her child’s lost skills. Your child is shaping the future of another. What a feeling that must be!
You might not be on the receiving end of knowing how your child affects another person. But, you are appreciated for what you do and for what you say. You are stronger than you believe you are. You are braver than you think you are. You are Mother to a beautiful being. Believe in that child. Do as much as you can for that child. Do as much as you can but always remember to take care of yourself along the way.
Find your passion, and be effective. Know your strength, and push through to the end. Build your confidence, and reach your aspirations. Hope for the best, and always seek the truth. Discover peace, and never let it go. Your child and his needs are intertwined. It will be like this a long time. His strengths, passion, confidence, hope and peace are part of yours. Remember that echolalia, perseverating, constipation, screeching and tantruming are not who define you or your child. There’s a person inside that child who needs your mothering and your loving dedication. Find that person and hold onto them. And, always remember that no one knows that child like you do.
With sincerest hope I am truly honored to be a part of this community of Mothers who are doing more than they ever dreamed they would have to. For your child, and for mine, Happy Mother’s Day.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.