Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Why Special Needs Parents Are Better For It!

Today I watched as a thread unfolded on my FB feed. A group of women were discussing their annoyance of neighborhood children being up too early in the morning (7:30 am) and being "allowed" to play outside as they road their bikes down the street singing "Let it goooooo!" "Where were their parents?!" One shouted. "I would never let my kids do that!" Another added.

As I pondered this, I realized that I am  *genuinely* grateful that Heavenly Father gave our family 2 Autistic children. (I know, you're probably falling out of your chairs right now! Who could be thankful for such a thing?!) Every day He teaches me the ways in which Autism molds David and I into better people. Special Needs Parents have a level of patience, understanding for others, for life occurrences and trials that I'm finding other people just don't have or takes them a lifetime to learn. We see a screaming kid at the grocery store, in Sacrament meeting, on our ONE date night a month - a smile is flashed to the parent and I never find myself thinking "I wish that Parent would quiet their kid so I can get back to my life!" (see how silly that sounds?) Our hearts just don't veer in that direction, ever. They don't sweat the small stuff in life, trials are handled with a bit of grace, they have greater patience, they're more forgiving, they appreciate small milestones, they don't judge rowdy children, they're always ready to serve despite their full plates, are not easily offended, strive to see the good in every person - they're amazing!

When people tell me "Oh goodness, 2 Autistic kids?! I could never do that." Sometimes I want to tell them, "Yes you would if you had to and you would be better for it!" David brought up one of my favorite stories today that we have of Joseph Smith. On one occasion he was found wrestling, running and playing with some of the young kids from his Congregation. He was flashed looks and remarks over it. People thought "He should be more serious being the Prophet and all!" That following Sunday he found that some had made the choice to permanently leave the Church because of it. The story was shared in the context that sometimes we just need to relax in life. It's been a great lesson to me in this journey. Especially as I'm changing the diaper of an almost 6 year old, she's screaming out her window until 11pm (all of the Primary songs her little heart can muster) and I know that all of my neighbors can hear her. Or when she's whimpering and banging her head on the wall because I turned on the blender or she's screaming in the hallway of our church building because she just can't squeeze out another minute of composure. It's in those moments that I realize just what Autism and Heavenly Father are doing for our family. They're making me a better person. They're teaching me Christlike love, patience, endurance, strength, Consecration and Grace.

I always tell Primary workers, friends and family that Phoenix and Leah will teach them more about themselves and Heavenly Father than they will about Autism.

My kids will be outside bright and early at 7am enjoying their summer vacation! Wear those capes proud! You deserve it!