mommy4autism

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My name is “Mommy”

on June 11, 2012

Mother’s Day weekend is always special to me. You see, May is my birth-month, and my birthday is always a couple of days away from Mother’s day. This used to be hard for me in the past…I mean, it is, in some small way, *kind* of like having a birthday a few days before Christmas. Everyone just sort of lumps birthday + holiday into one, because it is in our multitasking, time-saving nature to “kill two birds with one stone.”  I mean, who wants to throw two celebrations for someone else in the same weekend?  Who wants to buy two sets of presents or cards, or flowers, or whatever? Doesn’t one expression of amazement to a person in a weekend suffice?  Do they really need that again? 

As a hard-working, Disney-princess-singing, world-changing, fundraising, trailblazing mother of an autistic son, stepmother to a teenage girl, and wife of an equally hard working husband, I am here to tell you that YEAH. Yeah, I really do need that again.

All that being said, I should that my birthday this year was absolutely amazing…not only did my family completely knock it out of the park with their special treatment of me – and some precious moments that made me cry, made me laugh, and made me feel *so* loved – but I felt like God just kept raining down new blessings on me with every passing hour.

Short, selfish version: My son spoke his first real spontaneous sentence to me (a HUGE step for us), which left me feeling amazed and hopeful. Then, *I* was left speechless and teary-eyed by a loving card written by my teen stepdaughter in her OWN handwriting. And, of course, I giggled and beamed when my husband took me to dinner and then shopping for a few ridiculously frivolous gifts just so he could see me smile in that special way again. My whole family helped me feel loved beyond my imagination. What a rush! What an outpouring of love and adoration! Best. Birthday. Ever.

With my family’s promise that the weekend would essentially be “mine” to do as I pleased, I was excited for Mother’s day. Could it get any better?  Well, I started off that very special Mother’s Day clinging to the promise that I would be celebrated, and that maybe I would get a day off!

To be brief, Ummmmm, yeah, NO. It didn’t happen, and I was hurt. My regular duties weighed heavily on my shoulders, just like always. And I attended to them, because that’s what moms do. Dangit, I knew the whole thing was too good to be true!

But that afternoon, while I was feeling forgotten and sorry for myself, I looked outside and saw my son – alone – trying to swing on his play set. He wasn’t getting far, but he was still smiling to himself. I was drawn to him; I walked out and played with him on the swings. On Mother’s Day, with big fat grins on our faces, I told Alex, my awesome autistic son – that I loved him…and he repeated it back.

I may not have been treated like royalty this Mother’s Day, but I got something better. I was given the blessing of meeting my special son exactly where he was. I was given the gift of hug as I un-wrapped his sweet smile, topped off by the big, beautiful “ribbon” of a giggle. There are very few greater gifts than these for the Mommy of an autistic (or ANY) child.

I was suddenly overwhelmed by the meaning of ‘motherhood.’  It is not just a title or a privilege that was meant to be celebrated on this day. It’s a state of being, or state of wanting to be. It’s a title that women would die for, and maybe that others are (jokingly) really tired of.

Here’s my history, for those who don’t know…My son, Alex did not truly refer to me as “Mommy” until he was around 4 and a half years old. That might not mean a whole lot to everyone out there. But I had been waiting for that word my whole life (yeah, ok, drama, leave me alone)! And then I was blessed with a beautiful son who finally called me “Mommy” – and meant it – about 2 years after a lot of those other little boys. Did it break my heart during the wait for that title 2 years longer than other mommies? Maybe a li’l bit. But it *rocked* my whole world to hear my little boy ask for ME, his Mommy, when he finally did.

I don’t have any truly profound words to describe it, except to say that my name is finally “Mommy.” ❤

So this year, on Mother’s Day, nobody treated me anymore special than my son, now 5.5 years old, who laughed, and smiled, and called me “Mommy.” In doing so, he taught me a thing or two about that special day.

Mother’s day is meant to honor mothers…and until very recently, I thought it meant another day to be honored..and it IS to some families. But in this family, it doesn’t quite work out. Still, in one simple moment, I was reminded by an adorable little boy that I am his “Mommy.” And that right there?  That’s what it’s all about.

Treat me like a queen? Awesome! Treat me like a mother? Unbearably, heart-wrenchingly, incredibly priceless.

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