I was recently reading a friend’s blog about her gratitude practice and it reminded me of when I use to keep a gratitude journal.
It has been years since I actually wrote in a journal however in my head, I always have lists of things I am grateful for in my life.
Sometimes it is as simple as getting a green light and not being late for somewhere I need to be.
Yesterday I was grateful that I managed to bring Tyson to check the mail and take the puppy for a walk at the same time and it was not a disaster. We have been working on this and up until yesterday, it was not going so well.
I am also known to be grateful for a bite of chocolate and a diet Pepsi when the house falls silent at the end of the night.
And of course there are the big things on the list like my family and extended family.
My family and Mark’s family have always been so supportive of us and of Tyson’s needs, that I never really thought of others not having that.
However, there are some families that do not have that support, that unconditional love, acceptance and understanding that autism families need.
I realize how lucky we are that they are always just a phone call away.
But there are two areas of my life that I haven’t talked much about but I am eternally grateful for.
The first being my autism moms or AUsome moms, as we like to call ourselves.
They are moms, just like me, raising kiddos on the spectrum.
They have the same struggles as we do and they celebrate the same nontraditional joys like getting your child to wear socks, trying a new food or going to a restaurant.
These are the people I turn too when I have a bad day and equally as important, they are the ones I call when we have reason to celebrate.
They are always there with a listening ear, an empathetic word or affirmation that ‘sometimes life sucks’.
These girls are my people. They get me, they get us.
And the best part of sharing a similar journey is that their successes are my successes.
It is so uplifting when having a hard day to get a message from one of the moms that her little girl tried a new food or so and so said a new word.
I call it my “double joy”. I’m happy for the mom and the kiddo that had success but it also gives me hope that one day we will be celebrating a similar accomplishment.
And I love whenever one of us is having an issue, because let’s be honest, there’s never a dull moment, the first thing we do is tell each other about it.
The support these ladies provide to each other is just simply amazing.
For the most part, these friendships started through a parent led autism support group. For the past four years, me and a couple of other moms have been facilitating a parent support group through the Autism Society for families with young children on the spectrum.
As we continued to meet as a group, our friendship grew and now I am blessed with having these amazing women in my life.
Isn’t it funny how something that was started to help others, is now bringing so much joy to my life?
Which brings me to my next reason to be grateful, my work life.
I think one of the most daunting tasks since Tyson’s diagnosis has been trying to maintain a work life balance.
For many working moms that I have spoken to, the stress of trying to juggle appointments, therapies and calls from school to pick up your child, is often too much while working full time.
Many moms have had to leave their place of employment because the actual time demands of ABA therapy does not allow them to hold a 9-5 job.
Lucky for me, I have been blessed with an amazing employer and co-workers.
My boss’s philosophy is family comes first. And he truly means it.
There are many days in the run of the month when I have to send a message letting my employer know I will be late today or have to leave early because I am needed at home.
I realize not everyone is so lucky.
On top of a wonderful, caring boss, I have these amazing woman that I am so lucky to call my co-workers.
Many people in their situation might feel resentment towards me, when I am often coming in late or having to leave early for an appointment.
Not these ladies. In fact, they will often remind me of my biweekly home visit with Tyson’s senior therapist and tell me I better get going or I’m going to be late.
They will take over my lab work if something comes up at home that needs my attention.
But the most wonderful part is that they truly care about me and my family.
They will listen to my many stories about what is going on with us now. They’re always checking in on us, asking about how Tyson is making out in school or what was the outcome of an appointment or therapy session.
They know as much about Tyson as I do (lol).
I feel blessed to be surrounded by such caring and compassionate people.
So, with thanksgiving weekend upon on, I would love to hear what are you grateful for? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.