She looked like a typical little girl, Bright curious eyes, adorable curls,a laugh that made you instantly smile.
She loved water, spinning in circles and all things Barney. She loved dirt and rocks and playing with bubbles. She would swing on her belly for long periods of time.
All these things didn’t seem that out of the ordinary for a two year old.
When you looked closer You could see she wasn’t talking or even saying words. Her food choices were extremely limited. Her understanding was inconsistent and she was very very busy. She hated clothes on and couldn’t tolerate shoes. She would have meltdowns for hours. Her sensory system was completely out of whack.
She wasn’t reaching “milestones”. She was receiving early intervention and had just been evaluated by children’s hospital, but we hadn’t received the results yet.
I knew she wasn’t where she should be. The typical milestones weren’t being met. I had a five year old and they were light years apart.I wasn’t ready to see it yet.
I was convinced we were going to get more speech therapy, and she would catch up by Kindergarten.
The following week I would receive her autism diagnosis,and my whole word would be turned upside down. I would learn over time that there are some milestones she would not meet,and others would take many years to meet.
I would learn that typical milestones are not for her. They lead to disappointment, heartache and Unrealistic expectations.
I didn’t know, I I would cheer when she drank out of a cup, Used a fork, or ate a new food.
I didn’t know I would cry when she said I love you at 22 years old.
I didn’t know that I would be celebrating milestones that should have been checked off years ago when she was well into her twenties.
How despite all the odds stacked against you and everything that I was told you would never do, you would exceed every expectation.
How you would follow the less traveled path, and find your own way and bring love and laughter to our home everyday despite all the challenges you face.
How everyday you would have a smile on your face and you work harder than anyone I know for every single accomplishment.
I didn’t know that you would inspire others and give them hope.
That you would be a beacon of light and live your best life everyday.
I didn’t know at times your struggles would bring me to my knees and there would be days I felt like I couldn’t keep going,but I always would get back up.
You gave me more strength that I ever knew I possessed. I would have to be strong so I could be your voice.
I will always fight for you. I will be by your side always and celebrate each and everyone know matter how long they take. And if some never get met than that’s okay too.
You make your own way in this world. The expectations of others don’t matter to you. Milestones don’t matter to you.
There is more to life than boxes checked off a list. You are happy,loved and full of life. You matter. Your differences make you who you are and I love you just the way you are.