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I will pass this way but once if there’s any good that I can do
Let me do it now for I’ll never pass this way again …
Tomorrow may be too late my friend to do all the good that you planned …
So reach out to those who need you and lend them a helping hand
I will know this world but once if there’s any love that I can give
Let me give it now oh Lord please show me how…
For I’ll never pass this way again – Glen Campbell

I recently lost a very close friend unexpectedly. Within three weeks, she was gone. With a broken heart, I have been very melancholy have been re-evaluating my life overall.

The concerns of a special needs parent can be paralyzing at times; trying to teach “normalcy,” constantly trying to mainstream, or planning for his future.

Advocating for Others
Always the advocate, I present publicly on advocacy tools, teaching empathy with a focus on the perspective of others along with the impact of our decisions. With pride, I campaign for acceptance of different learning styles.

Practicing What I Preach
Yet, I now ask myself, “Have I stopped to apply these methods to my own child? Do I put myself in his shoes? I’ve been so busy trying to mainstream and raise awareness, have I really tried taking his perspective?

When my son reached teenage years; life got very overwhelming that it drove me to my knees praying for a miracle to cure him. I didn’t know what else to do. Cured? No. But the miracle that unfolded was so amazing I felt compelled to share the therapies and resources around the world through a documentary film. Our miracle: My son attends college and lives independently.

Self-Transformation
However, the unbelievable phenomenon that took place was a miracle of transformation; a transformation of my heart. As a parent, we want to fix everything because we live in a world that expects nothing less than perfection. To have a child diagnosed with a special need is hard to digest. The parental journey changes; it’s not the journey for which a parent is prepared. Once I accepted my son’s diagnosis, doors began to open. I realized that my son didn’t need a cure; he just needed tools for success and tools to function responsibly. My entire focus changed; a miracle indeed.

Self-Analysis
I was so wrapped up with trying to “fix” my son and to help others; did I stop to see through my own child’s eyes? A recent reminder on a shopping trip, my son had to excuse himself to go outside to decompress as he was over-stimulated. He paced in front of the store in order to calm himself. Yet, earlier I was irritated at his grumpiness. He had to remind me of his challenges.

Public Letter to my Son
Raising a child with special needs has totally changed my life. I would like to honor my son in a public letter.

Dear JJ,

You have been blessed with many special gifts. Have I told you lately how proud I am of you? How through the decades, I’ve been amazed at your perseverance to not give up when things got really difficult. Just every day “life” is challenging for you and at times it has been so over whelming just to watch. My heart aches; I have cried in silence. I want to fix everything to protect you from pain. The pain of the intolerance of others, from bullying, from your struggles just to “cope” with every day living.

I’ve taught you to take the perspective of others, but do I take your perspective? Through your journey, I have learned to love unconditionally, to encourage originality and advocacy, to be non-judgmental, to go outside the box which is challenging for me. Over the years, I prayed for compassion, patience, acceptance, and spiritual growth; God wasn’t going to just hand over those qualities. Instead, He blessed me with a special needs child to provide opportunities for me to grow.

Thank you for the book, [easyazon-link asin=”1843104814″ locale=”us”]All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome[/easyazon-link] to remind me of your challenges and gifts. I love you more than life itself and you know how much I love, love, love life! My strength and courage have come from you. You are my inspiration.

Dream BIG! Believe BIG! Love ALWAYS, Mom, xoxoxoxoxoxoxo