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A Letter to My Son With Autism on Mother's Day

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When I became a mom I had such a clear vision of how our life would unfold. I would be your guide and you would learn all of your life skills from me. I would lead by example and teach you to say please and thank you and model good behavior… but things don’t always go quite like we planned, now do they son?

Little did I know that you would be the one teaching me.

You’ve taught me how to love.

There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you. I would bare every hurt you’ve ever felt and prevent any pain from entering your precious life if I could. But I know I can’t. So instead, I’ll be by your side to comfort you and pick you back up when life knocks you down.

You’ve taught me patience.

I used to get antsy when having to wait for anything. But sudden changes in your schedule, without prior notice, can be very stressful for you. I’ve learned I can do simple things like giving you a visual reminder, a five minute warning or setting a timer to help you to be less anxious. I’ve learned how these few extra minutes on my part can help make your day better; and it’s so worth it!

You’ve taught me to listen, really listen.

I’m that person who only hears the lyrics to my favorite song, but you hear every intricate detail of every instrument. You’ve shown me that, in music, it’s actually better to be different. The melody doesn’t always have to follow the beat. In fact you always say, and I agree, that they sound so much more beautiful when they slightly contrast each other.

You’ve taught me to think outside the box.

Living with autism in this world can be challenging at times, and sometimes we need a plan to help us through tough moments. You’ve taught me to think ahead and to anticipate stressful situations, and to prepare strategies ahead of time to help us through them.

You’ve taught me to be brave.

I used to be a people-pleaser. I never wanted to upset anyone or hurt their feelings and would always just go with the flow. When you came into my world you needed me to fight for you. I guess it’s an instinct we’re given as mothers, but when someone tries to close a door on our child, wedging our foot inside feels like the only option. I will fight for you until my last breath.

You’ve taught me that it’s not only OK, but that it’s good to be different.

When you were little I wished so deeply that you could be like the other kids on the playground, because I didn’t want you to ever feel left out. I knew that feeling and how it hurt. So I tried to teach you how to throw and catch a ball, but you weren’t interested. I signed you up for soccer, but ended up just chasing you in circles around the track. We went on playdates, and while the other kids played together, you ran from room to room to look at their ceiling fans.

Then one day you started playing the song that your father had played the night before on the piano. We found a teacher and learned that this instrument actually held your interest.

Watching you play, I realized that you were never meant to be like anyone else.

I’m sorry I spent so much time trying to help you fit in. I know now you were never meant to. You are exactly who you’re supposed to be. You are perfect.

Thank you for making me a better person and being my best teacher.

Follow this journey on Unique Different Cool.

Getty image via MaximFesenko

Originally published: May 10, 2019
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