Making a difference, step by step

If I could make a difference in your life….

These were the words to my son’s solo in his last chorus concert as an elementary student. (Sniff, sniff.)

And boy, has my boy made a difference in my life.  I can’t imagine my life without him. First of all, it was with him that I became a mom.  Every single thing in my life changed when I became a mom.  I could write a whole book on all of those things.  However, I’ll just leave at that– every single thing changed– some things drastically and some things not so much, but change they did.

Secondly, he has taught me so much– to see beauty in small things like reflections in a doorknob, to communicate more effectively, to notice sounds that I may not have noticed before, to be patient– just to name a few.

I think that, because he is in my life, I’ve learned to slow down and not hurry so much.  Of course, there are some days that I feel that my life is like a train speeding out of control, but over all, I’ve slowed.   My son cannot be hurried.

I’ve also learned to separate people from their actions.  The way that people may behave does not equal who they are inside. Someone with a “weird” mannerism may be a genius, I just can’t see it right away.  I’ve learned to be accepting.

I’ve also gained a wonderful community of other “autism parents”, and formed so many friendships that I might otherwise not have had.  And how can I forget the “perks” of the special functions for special needs families? I’ve come to appreciate so much the community in which I live and what it means to be included, and to include others.

The chorus went on to say that change could happen “step by step, bit by bit.”  That’s exactly how my son’s progress has gone.  Every little accomplishment– from saying his first sentence to taking a spelling test to saying thank you– is celebrated.

And now he’s going into middle school.  I am frightened.  As I’ve written before, he will not be attending middle school with his elementary friends.  However, I know that we can get through the challenges step by step, bit by bit.

I hope and pray that others will come along who will make a positive difference in his life for the better, as his classmates and teachers have done.  In fact, I’m counting on it, for it takes a village.  We may just have to look around harder.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Kat Dixon on May 24, 2011 at 2:39 am

    Elizabeth,

    This is so beautiful! I just wrote a speech about the district reorganizing and the impact it would have on autism families and the communities that teach our children acceptance, tolerance and empathy.

    Watching P sing his solo tonight, seeing his enthusiasm to be singing and included as a person was so wonderful. I love how we all pull together and celebrate each of our children’s accomplishments as if they were our own.

    J would not have been as successful today without your extra instruction for his clarinet. So I know you celebrated him and Clary’s owner in the concert. Our community makes it possible for our kiddos to actively participate without judgement. We are so blessed. Thank you for being a wonderful addition to our community and family 🙂

    HUGS!

    Kat

    Reply

    • Thanks, Kat. We are so proud of our boy and all the kids… I was on the edge of my seat watching my clarinet students in the band! I was one proud teacher!!!

      Inclusion without judgement is so important, I agree. And celebrating each other’s children as if they were our own… I get teary just thinking about it. I might just write a speech, too. I don’t want to lose our school!

      Reply

  2. Wow, this was really touch8ing to read.
    Thank you for writing this. I hope you don’t mind but I gave the link to some friends on FB so they could also read it.

    beautiful!

    Reply

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