I remember chatting with Laura in an empty Sunday School room while we took care of babies who had no interest in big church. We pondered everything new moms ponder. And then some.
I consider Laura and her husband friends, although we don’t socialize or see each other unless it’s a random run-in. I’ve been watching her ups-and-downs on FaceBook though. Sadly I’ve never offered her support or said, “I”m praying for you” with a cute little heart, for fear that it would come across as trite. Again, I’m not that close to her. I need to work on that.
You don’t have to share coffee and bagels to care about someone. Right?
The baby Laura rocked in her arms that Sunday is named Peyton. Peyton has Autism. I don’t know when she found out, I don’t know if she knew that Sunday we swapped baby stories. I do know that as our boys have grown (Peyton is 8, Eli is 10), she has been on a journey that makes my struggles with reading and mean teachers unworthy of complaint.
Here’s what I learned. Roughly 1 in 110 children have Autism Spectrum Disorder while no two children have the same symptoms. Early diagnosis is crucial, however, getting a doctor to diagnose early is difficult. Imagine wanting to help your child but being denied the tools to help him/her to thrive? I read that some autistic children/adults flourish in jobs and relationships, while others may never. I do not know what Peyton’s ASD will look like in ten years. I hope they find a cure. For now, Laura encouraged me to read “Welcome to Holland” and I think you should read it too (http://www.our-kids.org/Archives/Holland.html) before going any further. One mom’s perspective on finding out she had a special needs child may change your way of thinking too. You really need to read it.
And while many of us will spend hours deciding which school will garner our money and support, Laura is simply relieved that Peyton has found a school for the next three months or so. It’s a special place that deals in the treatment of Autism so that they can learn why some of his beahaviors have gotten out of control. He has been there for about a month now. One of Laura’s recent posts said that Peyton is enjoying it and spends a lot of time outdoors (which he loves). I know that makes Laura smile. Oh, and did I tell you that the school is only three hours away? You see, my heart doesn’t break for Laura because her son has Autism. My heart hurts for her because she has to be away from him. I don’t know how I would handle that.
So I think Laura deserves a Beautiful Thursday!
She didn’t ask for it, nor does she have any idea what I am writing. I am not trying to elevate her above other mothers who do or don’t have special needs children. I simply have the power within me to encourage someone and I am going to do just that…as loudly as I can.
When I think of what makes Laura beautiful, strong words come to mind.
I think she shows the kind of attributes that leave soccer moms, caught up in trunk shows and after school activities, in the dust!
My hope is that we as moms, dads, well-meaning neighbors, good friends, grandparents…will learn from all the Laura’s out there. I am inspired as she fights for her son but I know she gets overwhelmed. Could I do something for her? I was happy for her when she posted that she would see her son for an afternoon recently. But did you know that parents of ASD children have medical expenses five times greater than you or I? Could I do something for her, even if all I can do is minimal?
Tomorrow when I see my kids off to school, change the sheets on the beds, write another blog, or plan for dinner, Laura will still be advocating for Peyton. No matter how much it costs, financially or physically, she will find a way to jump over the next hurdle. She won’t stop until she finds a way to give him a voice.
Don’t let this blog make you feel guilty. I do want you to feel so strongly for Laura, or the mom down the street, or the dad who works in your office, that you get out of your comfort zone to make a difference today. No, I can’t cure Autism but I can send flowers to Laura. Or support her in the next Autism walk. Or send her a gift card so she can do something for herself. How about a one-dollar-and-fifty-nine-cent card that just may brighten her day?! What a difference you and I could make for all the Lauras out there!
So, I have a favor.
Today, I want you to think only of Laura. Not me for writing about Laura or talking about ASD. Instead, say a prayer for Laura and her journey. Then will you go as far as to leave a comment on my blog for her (I have this feeling she will be reading)!
Maybe you could find this blog on FaceBook and leave a kind word for her there. Something to bring a bit of sunshine to her today. Remind her that her efforts are not in vain. That she is a courageous woman. A strong woman. A beautiful woman.
Because Laura’s fight will ever end. Maybe if she has a rough day, she will come back here and scroll through the comments to see the love and support she has from people she doesn’t even know.
Will you cheer on this beautiful mom today?
Please let it begin with Laura. There are so many men and women out there who could use your encouragement and concern. Start with this: “You are beautiful. What can I do for you today?”
I love you for reading today. You, my friend, are beautiful!