While reading and replying to tweets made by my support system of "people who get it" this morning, inspiration for this post smacked me right upside the head. To all of my friends, those I've met face to face & those who I know and love through the miracle of social networking, these are the Christmas gifts I wish for you. I'm sending them wrapped in gratitude and hugs :)
1. An offer of a break for a few hours. I hope someone who knows, loves and can be trusted to care for your wonderful child will call you and say "Why don't you take the afternoon off today? Have lunch with a friend or your spouse, shop without a child in tow, take long bath and a nap. Don't worry, we'll be just fine!"
2. A Stranger's Compassion. While running errands, or grabbing a meal out, when your child begins to meltdown, flap, squeal or be far too loud I hope one person gives a sincere smile and says "Is there something I can do to help? I could stand in line for you or bring your tray to your table."
3. A family member or friend who ASKS to be educated about your child(ren). I hope someone in your circle who has never really understood your child(ren) says, "I don't know how you and your child feel, but I really want to understand. Can you tell me more about autism/ADHD/sensory issues? What websites and books do recommend?"
4. An unexpected moment of joy. I hope that you have a moment where your child does or says something new that leaves you glowing and reminds you that all the SLP, OT, PT, tutoring and social skills lessons are more than worth the drive, cost and time you've spent on them this year.
5. Belief and Hope. More than all of the above, I hope, pray and wish that you believe there are people who understand, get it, feel what you feel and care about you. I hope you believe in yourself and your decisions for your child. I hope you realize that YOU are the expert on your child, and doing the best you can with what you have equals extraordinary parenting. I wish you hope and faith to feed your soul on the rough days and fuel you on the exhausting ones.