My child is fourteen, so I have banked a few Mother’s Days. Having a teenager on the brink of high school, however, is making me quite terrified and grateful this time around. He’s growing up into such a delightful, intelligent, and charming individual, autism aside.
Right around the corner is adulthood.
That terrifies me, and makes me look back at all of the years.
I guess what I’m thinking about this time around is that Mother’s Day isn’t really about autism.
I am the mother of a child with autism, but all mothers of children with autism get to be just mothers today, don’t we?
We still love, adore, and cherish our kids, just like typical moms.
We still love our own mothers, just like typical moms.
We still want to have this day be a bit special in some way, just like typical moms.
We still melt inside when our kid(s) say, “Happy Mother’s Day,” just like typical moms.
We still love at our kids and inside, quietly say, “Wow, look at what I did. How cool is that,” just like typical moms.
We still pick our battles in the world for the benefit of our kid(s), just like typical moms.
We still have to left some things go, and teach our kid(s) why, just like typical moms.
We still take our kids to playdates, soccer games, baseball games, swimming, and many other activities, just like typical moms.
We still stop what we’re doing in order to listen to our kid(s), just like typical moms.
We still (often begrudgingly) have to enforce rules or corrections to our kid(s), knowing this will sometimes take energy that we may not have, just like typical moms.
We still have to ask the question, “How was school today?” just like typical moms (and get a typical fourteen-year-old’s answer of “Fine,” or “Good,” or “Okay.” One word answers with no details.)
We still have to check our kid’s homework, just in case, just like typical moms.
We still have to limit device time, just like typical moms.
We still have to make sure the kid(s) understands how important good hygiene is, just like typical moms.
We still look at our kid(s), and we see a part of ourselves looking back at us, just like typical moms.
We still worry ourselves into sleepless nights, just like typical moms.
We still have to find a way to let them go, let them have their independence, just like typical moms.
We still have to hold them if/when they’re scared, sick, or they just need it. We still have to know when to hug or rub their backs, just to show them we’re there. We still have to explain parts of living that may not be so pleasant, like the death of a loved one. Just like typical moms, we’re ready to handle all of it.
And, we’re still so deeply proud of who they are and who they’re morphing into, that we do have to occasionally take a little bit of credit for that, just like typical moms.
So, kudos to all the moms out there—moms of children with autism or special needs and moms of typical kids. All moms. We all did this amazing thing…we brought a new life into the world.
The responsibilities for that new life may vary, but they are gigantic and complicated and beautiful. Sometimes, autism moms are just like typical moms. No difference at all. We’re just moms.
Today, Happy Mother’s Day to all of the Moms out there.
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