A day of gratitude. And, believe me, I’m grateful. In the past year my mom has filled in the cracks, picked up the pieces, and become our biggest fan/supporter. Completely unconditionally.
Anyone who knows my mom wants to adopt her as their ‘2nd Mom’ or their ‘Seattle Mom’ for those who have moms that live out of state. Some would like to adopt her as ‘Their Mom’ to replace the one that they have. Friends of all of my kids call her ‘Grandma’. As if she were their very own. They probably see her more than they see their own grandmothers in some cases.
I love how real and practical she is. For a gift for my third child, instead of buying me any stuff, she gave me ‘a year of laundry’. She literally came over, and did our laundry for us. Then she would sneak baskets of dirty laundry into her car, take it home with her, and bring it back clean and folded and also put it away the next day (all whilst having a full time job mind you!). What a huge gift. (no one tell her that Emil just hit two because she is still doing our family of 5’s laundry…)
When I’m having a good day and appear to be embracing this latest chapter in our lives called ‘autism’, people ask me, “Karen, you are so strong, how do you do it?” I can answer that quite simply and I tell whomever might ask me such a question, ‘thanks to my mom, I can make it through the day.’ It is so entirely true. My dad’s humility and sense of humor plus my mom’s incredible compassion created a ‘perfect storm’ for a special family. Oliver just punctuates our very entitled ‘special needs’ name. We all have needs. We all have special circumstances. We all do. My mom was a special-ed teacher back in the beginning of her career and taught us that every person is a person, same as the next. No better, no worse. And every person has something special to offer this world. Indeed! She showed us by example how it is on us to see what that person’s gift to this world is. Sometimes a person’s gifts aren’t apparent and are hidden. That makes them special and that can be a challenge, but not something that you cannot overcome. It is such an ability that she has to make people feel good about themselves. I am so appreciative of this. My sisters and I talk constantly about seeking the positive in situations that sometimes seem bleak on the surface. Mom taught us that. In order to appreciate others on this level, I’ve come to understand that it requires a certain amount of general acceptance of people’s differences, and also a special sense of tolerance.
I asked my 13 year old what his favorite top three qualities of Grandma are, off the top of his head: 1)she can find something to like in everyone 2)she can always make someone feel good about themselves 3)she is always there to help. Wow. I’m happy that he is paying attention and recognizes these qualities. They have a special bond.
And, get this…my mom volunteers at the EEU once a week so that we can learn techniques in dealing with our sweet Oliver. If that doesn’t make for a Super-Mom/Super-Grandma, I don’t know what does!
Thank you, Mom. I love you!