Saturday, August 8, 2009

Hidden Blessings

Although having two children with Autism can be heart-breaking, it has also given me a tremendous blessing that mothers of typical children don't usually receive...the gift of being able to appreciate the little things. Take today for example. We live in Canton, OH which is home of the Football Hall of Fame. This week has been Hall of Fame week with a variety of events taking place, all leading to the big event today - a huge parade. Now for the parents of typical children, deciding whether or not to attend the parade probably involves a debate about weather conditions and general health of the little ones (a sleepless night due to a nasty cold will probably ensure that the family stays home). The decision for my husband and me took a lot more thought. Would the children be able to tolerate the wait since early arrival is crucial if you are going to get a seat with a view? Could my son - who suffers from strong sound sensitivities - be able to tolerate all the loud noises associated with a parade? What if one child loved the parade and the other had a complete meltdown (a true "meltdown" is not easy to handle - especially not in a crowded situtation)? And the list goes on and on. After talking about it all week we finally decided this morning to give it a try....drum roll was GREAT!

We arrived at our waiting spot at 7:30 a.m. and the last police car drove past us at 10:30 a.m...yep, we made it through the ENTIRE parade. Talk about exceeding expectations! On the ride home Bill and I talked about how uninterested most of the crowd around us seemed. I guess in today's high-tech, fast-paced world, most people just aren't as impressed with parades as they used to be. But for us, it was about more than just watching marching bands and large cartoon balloons - it was about participating in life. There we were, standing with the rest of the crowd watching a parade. We were so proud. People around us probably thought I had been hitting the bottle a little early this morning since I was waving and applauding enthusiastically at EVERY float, cheerleader, clown, and old person perched on a convertible. We knew the work it had taken to get to the point where our children could handle an activity like this and we knew that we would remember this experience forever. I sit here tonight and think about today, I feel blessed. Blessed to notice the little things in life that so many people take for granted.

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