Things We Don’t Take For Granted

Aristotle said, “Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”

I try not to sugarcoat when things get hard at our home.  There’s a lot of worry and dedication and time and patience and sleepless nights that go into raising a child with special needs.

But there’s also this way I see about special needs families, this way that allows them/us to celebrate all the little things.  Because when you work so hard to reach those little things, it makes it so much easier to appreciate and so much more worthwhile to celebrate.

So although there are the hard points, there is no lack of celebrating and happiness because we never take the following (and more) for granted.

  • Language, any language at all
  • When he adds a name on to his request: “Get me Mom” or “Tickle me Corbin”
  • Any night of uninterrupted sleep
  • Every time he poops without a laxative
  • Meeting other families with children on the spectrum
  • When he finally puts on the new pair of pants that he had been refusing to try on
  • When you can sneak the beloved zoo shirt into the wash after three days in a row of being worn
  • When he sits at the dinner table for longer than 5 minutes without a rewards token system or a visual timer
  • When he sings “Under the Sea”
  • When you walk into him cuddling with his big brother
  • When he can tell you where it hurts, at least by pointing
  • When a typical peer asks to come over to play
  • When he recognizes something as a calming tool and uses it
  • The giggles and laughter
  • Seeing him flip through a book while “reading” it in jargon
  • When he independently dresses himself in anything other than pajamas
  • When he pauses a movie and looks at you, waiting for you to deliver the next line
  • A transition without any tears
  • When he asks for you when he is upset
  • When he eats a new food, especially if it’s a vegetable
  • Independently responding to a question from a non-preferred person
  • Heck, even just acknowledging a non-preferred person
  • Watching him play video games with his brother
  • When he attends a whole game of Mousetrap, complete with taking turns
  • A day at school with zero behaviors
  • Hands without any evidence of bruising from self-biting
  • Eye contact especially when it’s paired with him stroking your cheek
  • When he squeezes back during a hug
  • Anytime he plays with any toy other than trains or zoo animals
  • When he spells a word
  • Every single “I love you”
Heather Nelson

About Heather Nelson

Heather resides in Rockland where she is busy juggling life as a newlywed, a mom to two boys (one of which who has autism), a part time job in direct sales, and a full-time job as a pediatric occupational therapy assistant. She has a love for live music, karaoke, and cheering on the underdogs.