Here is a Secret...SHHHH.....

Today our third turned 8 years old...for those who didn't know Felicity as a baby, she was probably one of the most challenging babies ever...she would cry until she vomited. She screamed so loud that my neighbors even wondered how I made it through the day....what I didn't know is she was preparing me. She was preparing me for a journey that was climbing more than a molehill. It was scaling a mountain and instead of free climbing experience with her allowed me to have the proper equipment to welcome a child with autism and other disabilities into our home with strength.

The other secret is that autism has changed each of my children. The other day I was blessed to enter into an insurance agency and share Seraphina's story as well as the gift of Reach. As I did, I proudly shared so much about Seraphina and her journey. I stood strong as I talked about knowing and hearing the diagnosis from the lips of the doctor and knowing that when those words came out they were just a strong support for the fact that I as a mom knew what I was talking about. What I couldn't seem to get through without crying was how the diagnosis doesn't just impact the child or the parents, it impacts the children. I read a lot of blogs and realize the heavy load these disabilities place on the kiddos but these disabilities are also gifts.

Autism has changed each of my children. It has allowed me to see what my children can be when pushed and driven to be more than they ever anticipated they could be. Its allowed me to see that each of my kids can generously give of themselves. Felicity was the epitome of that today as she opened her birthday gifts announcing that sweet Serrie could play along with her and then noting that she wanted to get her a WellieWisher of her own.

Autism has given them a stronger sense of compassion. Its made them able to see children as just that instead of judging them for behaviors that they may not be able to control. They are now able to always give the benefit of the doubt, something I am still working to learn, as an adult.

Autism has given us the realization that each moment we have with just one or a couple of our children is a gift. Those mundane trips to the hardware store or the grocery store are now opportunities to share in special moments where we talk and share instead of simply going through the motions. It reminds us to really celebrate the moments and the time we have together when we don't have to worry about the diagnosis.

Autism has reminded me how blessed I am to have 4 typical children. Its allowed me to see that not having to deal with extra doctors appointments,insurance,extra therapies,IEP's, in Home Therapy, Therapy Centers and just the normal trips to and from stores, birthday parties and outings with hopes of minimal to no meltdowns is truly a gift.

Today as I drove off with my two birthday twins in tow, I was reminded of all these gifts that autism has given us. Certainly its taken away from what I had envisioned for my family but its also created a new vision that I can choose to embrace and allow to work to change who I am and who my children are and perhaps we an be the voice of the good this disability brings.

As I lay my head on my pillow tonight, I am grateful. What a weekend its been capped off with the reminder of how blessed I am that autism chose me to be a momma to one of its amazing kids! A very happy birthday to a Big Autism Sister who loves her little autistic sister with ferocity of a mother. Thank you for preparing me to be a better mom and I pray that 8 brings you happiness, peace and joy....thank you Felicity for living up to your name HAPPY birthday Rainbow Baby!


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