Mother’s Day comes and goes so quickly. It was just here a week ago. Breakfast in bed. Hand-made construction paper, glue & glitter cards fashioned beautifully. Flowers arranged perfectly, screaming come see me…..come admire me. And a family supper or an elegant dinner for two to cap off an incredible day. Mom has been crowned Queen Of The Day – a day to show love and appreciation to the lovely soul that she is. But wouldn’t it be great if this day of acknowledgement was a few times a year? Or wouldn’t it be nice if Moms were honored anyway without being told a date to do so? And just think – for Autism Moms, “You’re doing a great job!”, “You’re amazing!” “You rock!” wouldn’t be rare, but it would be heard during those moments of sun, rain and everything in between. What is overlooked is the fact that for many, this calendar date where recognition roars, may be the only time “thank you”, “love you” and “you’re special” are made known. Thus, these words aren’t only treasured, but these Autism Moms hug them tight until 365 days rolls around again, because for some, that’s all they have. They go to their reserve when meltdowns are in public….when advocacy is seen as a nuisance instead of support, rights & the child….when progress has departed the premises and seemingly there are no sights of a return….and even when groundbreaking accomplishments comes along, they are solo because there’s no one to share in the celebration. A mother stands craving for someone to say “I understand”, “Been there” and “Good days, bad days, mistakes and all, you’re a remarkable Mom.” However the day is gone. The praise from before is silent. Requests are back. The job resumes. Errands are run. Chores are tossed, trying to figure out which ones can wait and which ones are of urgency. School projects are due. Homework with no instructions or examples shouts headache. And for many Autism Moms, there’s the added on “stick to the schedules”, plan of action for a routine change, sensory issues, medical problems, fighting for rights in schools, sleepless nights, long days — just to name a few. The responsibility she shoulders is enormous. The world she carries is often heavy, but no one really knows that. She does it with such ease, that now it’s considered the norm. No one expects her to fall or shed tears of hopelessness. She’s seen as a constant rock and not one that, at times, finds safety in insecurities, solitude and doubt because they know her there and won’t judge. Others are blind to her depleted strength and the peace that has long been boxed up and shipped away. And if she mentions her bottomless pit moments, she’s not believed or she’s given a pat on the back as if that’s sufficient enough to cover the hurt she bears. She is portrayed as strong, which she is. Experience alone has shaped and equipped her. The climbs and declines have built her muscles. And her child has held her heart even when it was torn apart, a lot of times, without them realizing it. But sometimes she needs the embrace of gratitude the days after the day, when there aren’t any special cards, flowers, or candy in the store on display. She needs hearts and eyes to remain open beyond the Sunday recognized for always catching the helplessness of life and bandaging the frustrations and fears with her love. She is worthy of praise and adoration for every action and word that has established the foundation in which her children stand and for instilling values and self-belief because no one saw her true child but her. And during her times (unnoticeable) of raging seas, yet still having at least a pinch of hope left to brace her children with what they need, automatic cheers should echo for years and years to come. Autism Moms may not get the plethora of kudos for their sacrifices, support and unconditional love from their children in the typical way. It may not be sung through an actual “thank you” but a smile, an eye contact, a first word or mastering a goal may be the “thank you.” And society may only nod in their direction on that one day in May, but not judging and accepting their families would be thanks enough. I guess what I’m trying to say is Autism Moms and all Special Needs Moms may not receive a standing ovation or see their names in lights. And yes, they have earned the right to have more than one day of pampering and to be esteemed highly. But my hope and prayer for you, Autism Moms and any Special Needs Mom is that you would capture every moment (the efforts and the triumphs) and know this was possible because of you and how tirelessly you champion for your child. Mother’s Day may be over, but let that day continue in you. Your resilience, your courage and your love for your child does not begin or end on Mother’s Day. So, know that sometimes without words, without drawings, candlelight dinners or a gracias, merci or any other expression of gratitude, you are an amazing Mom….and let the fact that your child looks to you as the answer for all, be the ribbon in the sky you hold on to.
Thanks for listening,