Making Something From Nothing
Today is Mother’s Day, and I’m actually smiling. This an unusual happening on Mother’s Day, because I have had an issue with this day for many years.
Those of you who have read my first book know that I grew up in an abusive family. I had a mother who took no joy in being our mother.
By all accounts, I should not have the tools to be a mother. Certainly, I should not have the tools to be the mother of a special needs child.
Along life’s journey, I was exposed to a few women who showed me what a woman and a mother should be. I learned by their example, when they didn’t know that I was watching.
I became the mother to three wonderful and intelligent children. At that point, I had two girls and one boy. I took great joy in being their mother; I still do.
Cameron, the fourth and youngest, came along at a point in my life when I did not plan to have any more children. He was an unexpected blessing.
It was a while before we discovered that he had a developmental disability. It took us by surprise, even though the signs had been there. When he had his assessment, I was expecting them to say (at the very worst) that he had ADHD. The Autistic diagnosis was a real shock.
I was always the person who thought that certain people get certain children for a reason. I thought that parents of special needs kids had a skill set or something about their personalities that the rest of us do not possess. I never thought that I could handle such a challenge. In my mind, that was why I had never been given a special needs child. God knew I couldn’t handle it. Heck, I was lucky to raise regular, happy, and “normal” kids.
What I learned after Cameron’s diagnosis is that I was already raising a special needs child, and I was doing it well. I naturally had the instincts, by the grace of God, to meet this child’s needs and even to bring him joy. I learned that we, as parents, can be and do anything that is necessary to ensure our children’s happiness, safety, and future success. We are not given more than we can handle, though it often seems like it’s pretty darn close.
On this journey, I have been blessed to have solid friends to whom I can confide, a husband who supports me in all things, older children who kick in a bit of extra effort to help entertain their brother, an online support group of friends who also have special needs kids, or who don’t have a child with special needs, but can imagine what it would be like, and a God who never leaves my side.
Each member of my family has done something special for me today. Three of the things that my little Aspie did for me touched a totally different part of my heart. He brought home a cut out in the shape of a flower. It is the kind that unfolds into many of the same shape, all linked together. On each flower, he wrote in his labored handwriting, something that he loves about me.
The front flower said “Happy Mother’s Day.” It was written very faintly, because he still cannot make much pressure when he writes.
The second flower said, “My Mother” at the top. At the bottom it said, “She loves me.”
The Third flower said, “My Mother” again. This one said, “She gives me Kisses.”
The fourth flower said, “My Mother. She gives me hugs.”
The last one said, “I love my mother.”
Each of these handwritten flowers meant so much, because writing is very difficult for him. What comes so easily to other children his age can be like climbing a mountain for him.
The second thing he did was in the form of a morning greeting. His father had coached him on what to say when mommy got up this morning. When I came out of the bedroom, he ran up to me, threw his arms around me in a tight hug, and said, “Happy Mother’s Day, mommy. I love you.”
This meant so much because displays of affection do not come easily to the Autistic. It touched my heart.
There was a card from all of my children. Each of them had signed it, including Cameron. His was light and difficult to read, but it was there. That was the third thing he did that touched my heart.
I called this post, “Making Something From Nothing, because what I started off as in life is not what I became. There was no reason to think that I could do anything special. The odds were against me.
Where I was in life and what I used to be are not a part of my life today, at least not in a negative way. The darkness of the past makes me more grateful for what I have today.