Sunday, May 23, 2010
Count Your Blessings...
Jesus, bless me while I sleep tonight. God bless Mommy and Daddy and Will and Jessica, Nana and Poppy and Grandma and Grandpa, my aunts and uncles and cousins and all my loved ones. God bless all those that are in pain and suffering. Please help me to go right to sleep and to have a nice long peaceful night’s rest and help me to always be a good little boy/girl. In Jesus name I pray…Amen.
Every night I say this prayer twice - once with each of the children while they lay tucked snuggling beneath their blankets. I have recited this prayer to them from the day they were born, recently adding a pause at the end so they can say “Amen.” While I am sure they value the structure of saying this prayer just before going to sleep, I am equally sure that I am the real beneficiary here. Each night, it reminds me of all the blessings that we, as a family, have in our lives. Our family is blessed with a Mommy and Daddy who love and support each other; a son and daughter who bring joy to everyone who meets them; grandparents who are an active and positive piece of our lives; an extended family who is supportive and caring; and teachers, therapists and doctors who genuinely care about the children’s future. That is a lot of blessings. Life with Autism can be so overwhelming and hectic that we forget to stop and think about just how blessed we are. I am blessed. Blessed to have children who continue daily to amaze me with their strength and inner peace. Blessed to have a husband who never fails to make me laugh even on the toughest of days. Blessed to have family and friends whose faith in me gives me strength to get up each day and face life with an optimistic heart. Let me say it again...I am blessed.
It seems so simple and obvious, right? I mean, who isn’t grateful for the blessings in their life? But it is often harder than you would think. There are days when I am so overwhelmed with the heartache of Autism that I feel angry at God for giving my children such life-altering struggles. Why them? Why me? On really bad days these unanswerable questions can overshadow all the blessings that I take for granted daily: my children, family, friends, dedicated therapists and doctors…none of these are guarantees, and it is important to remember that.
So yesterday we went to my parents' house in the morning because my brother and his son, Woody, were visiting while his wife was out of town. I was holding my adorable nephew when Will came into the room swinging his Slinky Poptube wildly about. I said: "Will, say hi to Woody." Will stopped. Looked closely at his 9 month old cousin - smiled the most precious smile I've ever seen - leaned in slowly - gave Woody a soft kiss on the cheek and another little smile filled with love - and then went on his happy way. I thought we were all going to melt...what a special moment. I took a snap-shot in my head to pull out on tough days when I'm feeling frustrated by Will's struggles. This moment was a victory.
The hardships are obvious – you don’t need to look for them – but don’t miss the many blessings – they are there.