There is a wise woman I know -- a Texas gal a bit to the South of me -- who has three kids, including a son, Jake, with autism.
She is one of the fabulously amazing moms I have met through the Internet. It was years ago, when I was seriously pregnant with my daughter and so worried about my son.
We have corresponded throughout the years -- sometimes sporadically, sometimes with great frequency.
Did I mention she is wise?
Years ago, when my son was about three, and my daughter just one, and I was in the midst of my "why my child/why my family" phase, she told me something that made me pause. She told me she had plenty of her own dark days due to autism. Lots of tears, lots of stress, lots of anger, etc., etc. But somewhere along the way she began to quit thinking in terms of the future and to live in the present.
She said she reached a point where she could pray and thank God "for Jake exactly as he is."
What powerful words.
What a simple concept.
And, yet, there I was -- my daughter still didn't sleep through the night; my husband worked horrible hours; my son was struggling,and biting.
And I was not there, not yet.
Oh, the guilt. What kind of mother couldn't listen to that statement and think, "Oh, yeah, I am thankful for my child, just as he is."
Well, my dear friend, your words stuck with me.
And I want you to know that I reached that point -- I reached it a while back, actually.
It is a wonderful feeling.
And as you would say, I, too, still throw my hands up at the unfairness of it all. My son has the purest heart, and no child should have to struggle as he does. I would do just about anything to hear him talk.
But he has taught me so many things.
That there is no such thing as a "small" accomplishment.
That the most important joys are the simple ones.
That you can love a person with your entire heart and soul without the exchange of a single word.
And, most of all, just as Jake has done for my friend, my son has taught me the most important lesson of my life ...
What it truly means to be a mother.