Happy Mother's Day
We Are Not Machines



By Cathy Jameson

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

This weekend, that saying will be true for lots of people. Across the US, scores of children will be blessing their moms the cutest hand-made crafts.  (Kim's daughter Gianna  made the fridge art you see.) Father’s will give fresh flowers to the mother of their children.  Grandmother’s will be given the gift of time with family either via a phone call or a visit from their precious grandchildren.  This weekend, I, too, will be blessed to be givengifts from my family.  I don’t need anything fancy or expensive, and the kids know that.  They’re givers, though.  

I’m finding that as I age, I need less stuff.  Not that the kids’ gifts are stuff.  The older they get, the more thoughtful their gifts have become. I’ve gotten records of my favorite 80s bands. I was given a beautiful bowl from my favorite New England town.  I am given time to step away from my responsibilities when they offer to watch their brother.  I try not to make a big fuss about the national holidays, like Mother’s Day, but I’ll never turn away their thoughtful gestures on those days. They’ve given more than other kids may have had to. 

We had a long week last week with lots of changes.  Ronan’s brother came back from college as my husband geared up for a lengthy trip.  In the midst of that, our schedules have turned upside down with end-of-the school year events, to include preparing for an upcoming graduation. Ronan’s gotten caught up in the middle of the hustle and bustle and is resisting some of his typical routines.  Where he’s usually the kid that’s happily settled in the living room or in the den most of the day, he’s now retreating to his room or is looking for a quiet corner to listen to his music.  It hasn’t been the easiest week for any of us, despite knowing that this particular week and this entire month wasgoing to be jam packed.  By Friday, we all needed a little bit of a break – from the busy and from some increased stress.  That’s not a bad thing, especially because we recognized the stress.  We knew one way to handle it was to take a break, which is what the kids did on Friday night.  

After taking on the responsibility of watching their brother for much of my workweek, they all ended up out of the house for part of Friday night.  I offered to buy take out.  They offered to pick it up.  While they were out, I cleaned up the house.  While I cleaned up, they got to hang out with some friends before dinner was ready.  Sending me texts and photos of the shenanigans made me smile.  Be kids!  Be silly!  Have fun!  Take your time!  I wanted them to enjoy the few minutes away because next week, they’ll be ‘on the clock’ with their brother again.  

They give.  They give so much to Ronan, to me, and to my husband.  But I want them to also be good to themselves, to enjoy their teenage years, and to make some good memories together.  To do what we’ve asked, and for them to continue to offer to help their brother, isn’t easy.  I don’t ask for anything in return, just that they remember to pace themselves.  If it gets too much to keep an eagle eye on Ronan, give that job back to me.  If it’s too hard to still be taking him to the bathroom, give that responsibility back to me.  If the stress of doing everything for him that he cannot do for himself, take a break, and give that to me.  I remind them frequently that they are appreciated, they are incredible, and that they are doing more than we ever expected them to do.  

What a blessing to see my children be so brave, so kind, and so protective of their brother with special needs.  I don’t need flowers or chocolates or a special dinner from my children today.  I’ll never ask them to do anything more for me on Mother’s Day because every day that they help me help Ronan is a gift.  

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism. 



Kathy-We are truly blessed to have such caring and loving siblings for our autism sons and may God Bless all the families of children/adults with autism. Kim-I love Gianna's artwork. Happy Mother's Day to all the Age of Autism moms!

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