Lori Smith

@lori-smith | contributor
Lori Smith

What to Remember About Parenting a Child With Autism

Hey Girl, It’s been a while. How have you been? Tired, I bet. It’s been like 10 years. What is Bob now? 15? 16? I always lose track of time. I bet he’s grown. I’m pretty sure you’re so proud of him. I just wanted to drop you a line to remind you of a couple of things — things I hope you did on this journey. You know the one. The one called life. I hope you took time outside of therapy to enjoy him. Childhood is short. I know you want the best for him. But I hope you took time to watch him grow — from kindergarten to high school seems like forever, but it’s over in the blink of an eye. Seriously, I hope you didn’t blink. Because if you did, you missed it. You missed some awesome things. I hope you didn’t. I hope you took some time for yourself. I know his schedule is hectic, and you’re busy. Truly I get it. But I hope you did. I hope you remembered that before this little person, you were a person too — with wants and needs and hopes and dreams outside of your precious angel. You see, it was important for you to do this. Not only important for you but for him. He needed you at your best. I hope you didn’t disappoint. It was so important that you be on your A game. With all the ups and downs, I hope you understood what this was all about. In the grand scheme of things everything is the same — we’re all on our own journey — autism or not. We’re all stumbling through life. It’s not always on your shoulders. You can’t always fix everything. And that’s OK. It’s truly OK. Life will continue moving on, regardless of the outcome or the circumstances. It just does. Thank God it does! Xoxo, Your future self This post originally appeared on I’m Bob. Want to end the stigma around disability? Like us on Facebook . And sign up for what we hope will be your favorite thing to read at night .

Lori Smith

When a Fair Ride Attendant Treated My Child With Autism With Kindness

We preach to our children be nice. Don’t call others names. Be kind. Be a friend. But how many of us actually practice what we preach? I know I’ve fallen short way too often. The thought of being kind to others has been on my mind lately, not because of personal issues but because of a recent visit to the fair. Yes, I learned something from the county fair. Every Saturday we go to lunch and do some form of an outing with Bob. For eight hours a day his life is governed by school and therapists and basically practicing life skills. So, on the weekend we like to relax and cut loose a little. We try to drag him out of his comfort zone (our home) and bring him into the “real world.” This Saturday we made the trek to the county fair. I’m sure you know the type — basic ferris wheel, kiddie rides, games where you can win a fish or a stuffed animal, french fries and hot dogs and elephant ears, oh my! I can’t lie. I was nervous. I didn’t know how it would go. I asked my Facebook family for prayers, good thoughts or even good juju. I was reaching. We arrive at the fair. Bob sees letters — words — that excite him. “What does that say, Mommy?” he asks. I oblige and answer, holding his hand a little tighter as the music and the smells and the people seem to barrel towards us. The funny thing is, you never really even notice all these things until your life is touched with autism. Our senses are accosted daily and the fair, well let’s just say that’s a whole lot to take in — especially when you’re little and autistic. We get to the ticket booth and the hubs proceeds to buy tickets. He looks at me and asks how many should I get? I don’t know — depends on if Bob can handle this or not. Oh, what the hell… get 50 tickets. This could work! Bob gripped my hand tightly and said, “I wanna go home. I’m scared.” I told him we would walk a little further and if he wanted to go home we would. We didn’t have to leave. He loved it! He rode the roller coaster not once but three times. We rode the tilt-a-whirl. I thought I was going to vomit. He smiled the entire time. He even tried his hand at throwing ping pong balls into bowls to win a fish. He won not one but two fish. We moved on to a motorcycle ride. Even though it was October and technically fall, it was still hot as hades in South Carolina. Evidently the South didn’t get the memo. While we were standing and waiting our turn, the ride attendant proceeded to complain about the heat. I tuned her out. My only concern was that Bob got on and off the ride safely. As Bob mounted the cycle, the attendant helped him and then she did the strangest thing. I felt like I was looking at something that wasn’t a reality… but it was. She proceeded to roll up my child’s sleeves. Evidently, because she was hot, she assumed Bob was as well. I watched this woman. I watched this person proceed to do an act of kindness — just seamlessly giving some relief to a child. That one act, that simple thing she did, meant the world to me. The fumbling of her fingers as she rolled his sleeves up, the kindness she bestowed upon my child, didn’t cost either of us a thing. It was what it was — an act of kindness, just a simple act of kindness. I leave you with this. Try to do a simple act of kindness. I know I’m going to make a valiant effort. Because you never know when the one thing you do, that one act, will impact another person’s journey. This post originally appeared on I’m Bob. Want to end the stigma around disability? Like us on Facebook . And sign up for what we hope will be your favorite thing to read at night .