This is my gratitude post. I wrote it in 2008. I reposted it in 2011. This year, I’m red-penciling it a bit. But only in a couple of places where it needs to be reflective of evolution. One technological, one personal. You’ll see. And then I’m adding a couple. Because there is always more to be grateful for.
Things I am thankful for (#s 1-
13 23 of 17,846,319 and counting)
Katie’s laugh – not her polite little chuckle, the real one. The one that comes from somewhere deep and full of joy. The can’t breathe, smile wrapped around her head laugh. The laugh that summons the angels and leaves them lingering in the room long after it subsides.
Brooke’s belly laugh – so different from her sister’s, so very much her own. The laugh that starts with her shoulders and takes her whole body along for the ride. The laugh that sets her eyes on fire and whose sheer energy could launch a rocket ship and send it into orbit. The contagious laugh that leaves an electric happiness in its wake.
My husband, who loves me even when I am hardest to love. My partner. My best friend.
Our home – the home that happens to be in our house, but could be anywhere that we are together.
The fact that the things in life that I value the most don’t cost money.
All of the people who love and support and teach my children.
The autistic self-advocates, parents, teachers and friends who take up the mantle of advocacy, who kick and scream and scratch and claw and pave the way for all of our children. Those who have come before, and those who will follow us.
Parents who teach their children compassion.
My beautiful Grandma – who has taught me that strength and femininity need not be mutually exclusive and that tenderness endures. Whose sense of humor and easy laugh I am so proud to share.
Our troops, who risk their lives each and every day in the name of duty. And their families, no less brave, fighting their own battles a world away.
Language - Brooke’s emerging ability to express herself, to ask for what she needs. And mine.
Our iPod shuffle The iPad and iPhone – which have given my baby access to places she never could have gone without it them. And when she sings along, heaven. And when she creates stories on the iPad, hell even when she asks Siri to “Play Katie’s poops” and then cracks up – heaven.
Autism. Yes, even
that son of a bitch autism – for touching my little girl more gently than it might have. For the gifts that it left behind, or at the least revealed. For forcing us to become so much more than we might have been. For teaching us compassion, tolerance, respect. For bringing together a community of people who can and have and will make the world more understanding.
You – who read the words I write. Who share this journey with me and who remind me that I am not alone. You who make the good times so much sweeter for the sharing and the tough times so much more bearable just for knowing that you’re there, waiting and willing to cheer the next victory or to send love when all else fails.
The autistic adults in my life. For for all that they have taught me. For their willingness to share their perspective, for the assumptions that they have shattered, and for their friendship. Above all, I am grateful that they will be there, forging the path for my girl, and welcoming her into a community of her own when she is ready.
Luna. Who faithfully responds to each and every comment on the Community Brag Page. Who cheers for each and every triumph and in so doing, helps to amplify the joy. And for her son, who recently gave his mama the best birthday present in all the world.
All of you who help one another on the Community Support Page. Who take the time to respond thoughtfully and carefully when one of our own needs help. I can’t tell you how much that means.
Remission. Full God-damned Remission. I love you, N. Take that, cancer.
My friends. Who support me – and one another – like nothing I’ve ever seen.
Miss J and the entire team of people behind her who support my girl every day.
Online shopping. I have no idea how I survived before Amazon.
Yes, today and everyday, I am blessed beyond belief.
And I am so thankful.
Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving.