Friday, November 20, 2009

"Mom, what are you thankful for?"

First and foremost, hearing those words come out of your mouth.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh it's that time of year, Thanksgiving is shockingly upon us. Time to take a moment (if you can find one) and reflect on all that we are thankful for.

And just for the record, not a day goes by, not ONE DAY that I'm not thankful for the many many blessings I have. Even the days when my kids are driving me nuts and I want to kill my husband and I'm over-tired, over-worked, and under appreciated. Gosh, I am still thankful for every.single. second. I mean that.

One of the lessons I work VERY hard to teach my children is, "Be thankful for what you have, not sad about what you don't have." You know, like when my 9 year old is complaining that we won't let him get a DS*I* instead of his plain, boring, pathetic regular DS. Let's be thankful that you HAVE a DS. That the DS even EXISTS, that in our house we have TWO DS's so you and your brother won't fight over them. That this summer when your DS broke, we actually bought you a brand, spankin, new one. That kind of seems like A LOT to be thankful for, doesn't it?

Having a child with special needs can really give you case of the, "I wish-es."

I wish my child would wear really cute outfits. But I'm thankful that he wears clothes at all most days. At least in public. I've accepted the fact that buttons and collars and sweaters and hoods just aren't in the stars for us. I'm thankful for pants with elastic waists so that Luke can get them up and down all by himself while he goes potty.

Sometimes I wish he wouldn't throw a major fit when we go to the store. But you know what? I'm thankful that Walmart sells popcorn and icees which usually keeps him happy.

I wish Luke knew how to share better. I know it frustrates Jared to no end that I force him to give Luke whatever he wants just to keep him quiet. But I'm endlessly thankful that Jared has the patience of Jobe and most of the time doesn't care.

I really wish we could have taken Luke to Disneyworld...... but I am thankful that we were able to realize it just wasn't going to be for him. And I'm thankful that we were able to give Jared our undivided attention for 3 days. He's earned it.

I wish I could do more for Luke. But you know what? I'm thankful for the things I am able to give Luke.

I wish Luke didn't have to ride "the special bus." But I'm REALLY thankful that the special bus exists, that Luke is eligible to ride it and that his bus driver Ms. Bernice and his bus aide Nellie are so amazing and loving.

I wish Luke didn't need special services at school at all. I'm thankful that Luke has such an utterly incredible team that is helping him become the big boy that he is today!

I wish people didn't use negative terms when it comes to kids (not just mine) with special needs. I wish people didn't assume things about me, like that it's OK to say in a hushed voice in reference to someone else, "Oh you know, he's in the special education program." And I'm really thankful that I have the presence of mind not to crack heads open sometimes. What? I'm just being honest here.

Sometimes I wish that Luke wouldn't just suddenly LOSE IT, out of the blue for, what I can tell, is no apparent reason. But I am infinitely thankful that I know WHY he's losing it. The kid's got autism. No more guessing game. I'm thankful to have solutions. I'm thankful that the solutions work. Even if it's just sometimes. Cuz about being thankful for what you have and not being sad about what you don't have? I'd rather have solutions sometimes than still be in the dark wondering what is wrong with my child.

And yeah, you know what? Sometimes I wish Luke would eat like a "normal" person. I wish I didn't have to drive to KFC every single day for "little chicken and brown drink." I wish I didn't have to spend a fortune buying him "pink cereal" (Yogurt Cheerios) for him to ONLY eat the pinks out and throw the rest away. I could probably buy a boat with the money I've spent on things I've TRIED to get Luke to eat that he won't. But by golly, I'm thankful that Luke eats somethings and he's gaining weight (albeit slowly) and we don't have to give him meds to help his growth. (But seriously people, we spend $500/month on fast food chicken alone, really)

Sometimes I kinda wish things like sitting on Santa's lap didn't send him into a state of hysteria. But I'm thankful that he's into Christmas and decorating the tree and cookies and making gingerbread houses and wrapping and opening presents. Because at the end of the day, the picture with Santa is for me, he certainly doesn't care!

Sometimes I wish Luke didn't have autism.

Wait, do I?

I guess my point is that there are days when it gets really dark and really ugly. Being the parent of a special needs child can really SUCK sometimes. In a million different ways for a million different reasons. But you know what? If Luke didn't have autism, he wouldn't be Luke.

And you know what?
I wouldn't be me.

All the things I wish he didn't have, make the things he does bring me......... that much sweeter.

So yes, this Thanksgiving and every day of my life.... I AM thankful for what I have. Doesn't mean I don't still wish sometimes.......... of course I do. I am human. I want life to be easy for my child. Life throws us enough obstacles without adding more to our plate. But Luke has already shown me in so many ways that he is ready to overcome. Bravo, Luke! And to answer your question: I am thankful for you.....

We have no right to ask when sorrow comes, "Why did this happen to me?" unless we ask the same question for every moment of happiness that comes our way. ~Author Unknown


Melissa said...

"All the things I wish he didn't have, make the things he does bring me......... that much sweeter."

-- yes, exactly.
All my children make me proud.
But not like Owen. He moves mountains every day. Every. Day.

Mr. and Mrs. Jackson said...

I wish I didn't have hormones that make me cry all of the time... like when I read this post :( ...but I'm SO thankful to have a baby growing inside of me that is causing the hormones to go nutso.

:) Have a great holiday, sister!

April said...

Melissa, I seriously cannot, CAN NOT throw away one thing that Luke makes/writes on/touches at school or anywhere else. Because I KNOW it was so much work, so much effort, so much of a miracle. Each thing. I'm a mess. Moving mountains... you called it. Mrs. Jackson... the fun is just beginning my friend, you just wait until next TG, you'll have MORE to cry about but in the happiest of ways!

Myra McEntire said...

I love you, man! And this year I'm thankful that I got that hug from Luke that I've always wanted.

Even if it was because I brought him chicken.

Krissi Dallas said...

Wow, thank you for sharing! I do not have kids of my own, but I teach all Pre-AP classes... always the brightest and smartest in the school. But I will say that nothing compares to the times when our Special Ed kids invite me to their classroom (usually in hand-made cards and invitations) for celebrations and feasts and special activities... it's like you said... it takes so much effort and work to accomplish things that come so naturally to my other students, but these kids are miracles in and of themselves, too. God bless you for your patience and your hard work... and for the vulnerability and honesty that you share with others!

Anonymous said...

I'm THANKFUL that this year I got to spend a little more time with Luke and Jared and April and Jeff.

One year ago I met a woman at the midnight showing of Twilight and had no idea at that time how she and her wonderful, amazing family would impact my life. Through blogs, Facebook, texts, craft nights, dinners, a concert, an amazing Walk, just to name a few... April you have impacted me more than you will ever know with your quiet strength, amazing tenacity for life, insightful words and hilarious sense of humor.

I really hope all those things and more will continue this next year.

Love ya!!!!!!

April said...

Awwwwwwwwww shucks. Y'all give me more credit than I deserve. Love you ALL!

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