It's Mother's Day

Mother’s Day – an opportunity for all of us to reflect on how terrific our kids are, no matter how challenging, and remember that we wouldn't trade them for the world.  Or a million dollars.  But maybe we would loan them out for a day or so… you know, because we’d really like some time to ourselves. 

This morning I started the day just as I do every other Mother’s Day:  Nick at the ready to make my traditional breakfast which consists of toast (this year he remembered the butter!), a chocolate chip cookie, and a Diet Pepsi.  Served on a tray.  Along with a chocolate croissant he got my mom to buy at the French bakery for me (he’s learning!).  It could not be sweeter – since he has been making this since he was literally three years old, and not only on Mother’s Day but any day he is feeling especially thoughtful. 

But today I also have the reality of having challenging kids.  Gabriel is in a Manic state.  This pretty much means he doesn’t sleep enough, is irritable, obsessed with food and requires a great deal more attention than usual.  Which often takes the form of non-stop talking.  For hours at a time.  No exaggeration.

And although Matt and Nick aren’t able to hold a candle to the kind of challenging Gabe is this time of year, they are still holding their own. 

Since it is Mother’s Day, I kinda wanted a day off.  Like a free pass.  I even hoped that maybe they would be so excited about Mother’s Day they wouldn’t have any issues whatsoever.  Ya, that didn’t happen.

Turns out even on Mother’s Day I’m the mom.

Finding the Right Word

When I found out I’d be in Nashville TN for a non-special needs related conference last month, the first thing I did was text my friend Jennifer.  She lives near Atlanta, and although Nashville isn’t exactly a block away, I had to ask her to come see me.  Jennifer and I have been friends for years – but I couldn’t tell you when or how we met – well, not exactly.

You see sometime in the last couple years, Jennifer started reading my blog, we became friends on Facebook, and that turned into a friendship.  We’ve emailed, texted, talked on the phone, and found a connection instantly.

As you might guess, Jennifer is a special needs mom.  That connection – that core understanding of another person’s life – goes far beyond your typical friendship building.  And I found myself trying to explain this to numerous people when I would excitedly announce I was going to meet her.  Some people were even concerned that we wouldn’t be as close of friends as we had made up in our minds.  But I wasn’t concerned at all.

It was true, I didn’t really know Jennifer.  I didn’t know where she grew up, if she has siblings, her favorite color, what kind of car she drives, or honestly much of anything practical about her.  Why?  We hadn’t talked about that much.  

When we talk it is always straight to the heart of what really matters in life – our family, our feelings of grief and struggle, and checking in with how we as moms are doing.  Sure we do have a significant number of conversations about shoes, and planning what to wear to dinner on our first meeting was a hot topic leading up to the trip, but I knew that regardless of what we had or didn’t have in common, we would be instant friends.

And we were.

We sat in a crowded Nashville country bar, listened to music, laughed, sang, drank beer, and of course, talked about our kids.  And as we marveled at the families with children inside this bar and grill, we joked at how their kids obviously DIDN’T have Autism or sensory issues, and it was fun.  It was if we’d known each other forever. 

The night ended and Jennifer went back to her home in Georgia, and I got on with the conference.