I looked around and it suddenly hit me.

I am a special needs mom.

I, of course, have known that but something about being in a park specifically designed for children with all disabilities made it all too real.

I saw dads pushing their children in wheelchairs moms carrying their child and moms standing around chatting.

What was different was the feeling I had.

And in that moment, I had peace.

There was no judgement at this park.

Accepting Autism was one thing accepting this life was another.

Over time I have accepted pieces of this life.

Sometimes I had no choice.

Early on I spoke about not being able to say the word Autism.

I referred to it as the A word.

I could not bring myself to say the word Autism.

Saying out loud was far too painful. And real.

When Kya and I are out anywhere I always worry. I worry it will be too loud. I worry it will be too bright or too many people.

But yesterday was different.

Knowing I was among other special needs parents was comforting even without a single word spoken.

My daughter is ten and was diagnosed at two and a half. It has taken me this long to see the beauty in today.

The beauty in a community I am a part of whether I wanted to be or not.

I am a special needs parent.

I have often said as a special needs parent our lows are the lowest, but our highs are the highest.

Nothing is easy so when she accomplishes something it is the most amazing feeling on earth.

Realizing and accepting my child was different changed me and because of that so am I.

I remember the early years and how hard a simple trip to the park was.

I remember the stares.

I remember wanting to sink into a hole and not come out.

Watching other children on a typical path can be daunting.

Too many what if’s flash by.

And it makes me want to jump into that hole.

But not this time.

This time I felt at peace.

My daughter could be herself free of the stares and free of the judgement.

Every family there had a special kiddo.

And it felt calm.

I finally felt at ease with the special needs’ world.

Its an easy judgment to throw at someone but until your life has been stolen from you then you have no idea the emotions that are wrapped up in accepting this life.

And I have.

I am a special needs parent.



Take Nothing For Granted

The simplest thing will catch me off guard.

A word a gesture or a simple acknowledgement of something.

Each time I am frozen by it.

Autism changes day to day.

We can have stretches of time where she is calm but there is usually if not always a fall out.

Day to day is hard but we are having longer stretches of good.

Longer days of happy and calm.

And her language is exploding and not just words.

Meaningful words.

Receptive language asking and answering questions.

Yesterday we attended an event host by the Canucks Autism Network.

What an incredible organization that tirelessly works to provide events for our kiddos.

And let me tell you it was wonderful.

It was refreshing to go somewhere that was specifically geared towards our kiddos.

I wasn’t’ going in stressed shaking or sick to my stomach.

This event was for kids with Autism, so I wasn’t worried about anything.

I wish the rest of the world were so accepting.

There are so many things that are hard.

But when those things become easier the gratitude is endless.

As we walked into the grocery store today, I grabbed the little handheld basket and Kya said no let’s get a cart to sit in.

So, we grabbed a cart and she sat in it as usual.

But what came next was anything but usual.

Kya got out of the cart started pushing it and said let’s go this way Jennifer.

I stood frozen in the produce aisle as my brave and fierce daughter carried on.

And by carried on I mean loading the cart full of the treats she wanted, and you can bet your bottom dollar I bought every item she chose.

Once we reached the register I am usually shaking and desperately wanting to pay and get out.

Not this time.

This time my daughter pushed the cart through stood at the end and loaded the grocery bags into the cart.

Oh. My. Gosh.

Something so small but so incredibly significant in our world.

She is making incredible strides.

I know this rollercoaster will take a sharp turn and try to throw us off, but we are hanging on and taking names.

I will never take anything for granted again.

On we go.



Grief is an ever-evolving emotion.

I have gone from utter despair to simple sadness.

The feeling of grief is always there tucked deep in my throat and woven into my soul.

My greatest fear is after I am gone.

I have written about grief many times, but I feel for me it has shifted.

I no longer sit in the day to day grief.

And make no mistake about it there is deep grief.

Greif my child is burdened with a life so heavy it weighs her down.

Grief my child will never have a typical life.

Grief my child will not understand when I am gone.

There is not a day that goes by where I do not look at her and worry.

The thought of her not understanding where I am makes my physically ill.

People have told me I am negative and should not be worrying about that kind of stuff now.


When would it be a good time?

Life is short.

I have the heaviest of weights on my shoulders.

The future is paralyzing.

The grief sits there.

It waits.

It pounces.

But what has changed is accepting that grief and accepting that this life is forever.

Autism is not going to miraculously disappear.

Autism is forever.

And accepting that forever took years.

Kya will always live with me and I am 100% ok with that.

She will most likely never drive.

She will most likely not have boyfriend.

She will most likely not go to college.

I am not negative I am being realistic.

A typical path is school college marriage and kids.

I am not saving for college.

I am not saving to buy her a car.

I am saving for her future for when I am gone.

And that is what is paralyzing.

With the above I know my daughter is more than capable of great things. But I am realistic.

She does not understand that she cannot walk in front of oncoming traffic so right now the thought of her driving is just that a thought.

If I let myself dwell on these things the grief would be too much.

We are taking life day by day and hour by hour.

I understand forever now.

And I am planning for it.

On we go.