Dear Mom, Happy Mother’s Day! Love, an Aspie

Dear Mom,

Thank you.

Thank you for realizing that I was different, and accepting, embracing, and encouraging that difference, without question.

Thank you for realizing that I was particular, and humoring me.  Thank you for recognizing and responding to my tastes and respecting my preferences and quirks, even when they didn’t always make logical sense.

Thank you for realizing that I was sensitive and being diplomatic with me.  Thank you for knowing when I was fragile and standing up for me.

Thank you for realizing when I was suffering and comforting me.

Thank you for encouraging my interests and complimenting me.  Thank you for requesting that I play different songs I had composed.  Thank you for listening to 38-year-old-me ramble on and on about my special interests, never showing boredom, but only expressing pride.

Thank you for doing all you could to make sure that I had what I wanted and needed.  Thank you for doing all you could to make sure that I knew that I was wanted and needed.

Thank you for understanding me, even when others didn’t, even when I didn’t understand myself.

Thank you for keeping your promises and being honest with me by refusing to make a promise you weren’t sure you could keep.

Thank you for holding me to the same standards as any other child and teaching me how to function, how to get along in the world, so that I could learn right from wrong and be a self-sufficient, independently-living, functional adult.

Thank you for recognizing me as an individual and encouraging me to be independent and think for myself.  Thank you for respecting those thoughts and opinions, even when they differed from yours.

Thank you for not simply medicating me and trying to get me to act “more normal”.  Thank you for recognizing that being different is not the same as being wrong.

Thank you for being patient with me, even when it must have been hell.

Thank you for your unrelenting, unconditional love, your strength, your resilience.  Thank you for endlessly giving yourself, even when there might not have been much left to give.

Thank you for the quality time we spent together, playing childhood games and laughing.

Thank you for the time you spent patiently teaching me, accurately assessing where I was in the stages of development, and meeting me at those stages without judgment or delay.

Thank you for imparting the “Mother’s Pearls of Wisdom”.  Thank you for those teaching moments, learning opportunities, and the “Supreme Court has ruled” jokes that taught us where the cliff’s edge was, while keeping it light.

Thank you for setting clear and consistent boundaries, being gentle, being reasonable, saying what you mean, and meaning what you say.  Thank you for treating us like future adults, by explaining why we couldn’t do or have something we wanted.

Thank you for being fair, being funny, being nice.  Thank you for readily showing affection, always quick with hugs and kisses and “I love you”s.

Thank you for gently correcting my grammar and spelling.

Thank you for giving me the benefit of the doubt, even when I didn’t deserve it.

Thank you for walking that fine balance of parenting, shielding me from trauma but not sheltering me.

Thank you for establishing routines, helping me feel secure, being someone I could always count on, showing me that I was always safe.  Thank you for protecting me.

Thank you for standing up for me, defending me, going to bat for me when I needed it.

Thank you for accepting and loving me as I am, even when what I say or do sometimes sends shockwaves through you.

Thank you for always believing in me, never writing me off, never giving up.

Thank you for being there.

I love you, more than I have words to explain.  I could go on forever and it would never be enough, never be adequate, by my standards.  There would always be more in my mind; I would never feel like I’ve adequately expressed everything.

If I could give you one gift, it would be to dissolve all of your uncertainty of whether or not you did a “good enough” job parenting.  You didn’t do a “good enough” job; you did a “rock-star” job.  You were everything any child could ever want and need, especially an eccentric and unusual (and often challenging) child like myself.  Please rest in the comfort that you were as close to perfect a mother as can ever be hoped to achieve on earth.

Happy Mother’s Day,
~me

I’ve always recognized that my mother is awesome, but realizing my own spot on the spectrum has propelled that to new heights, and given that appreciation a new and deeper meaning. She didn’t even know I was on the spectrum until last month, so we didn’t even have the (benefit or handicap?) of knowing why I was the way I was, which often didn’t make logical sense.  She’s nothing short of a saint.

The world would be so much better a place if everyone, especially all of those of us on the spectrum, could say the same thing.  There would be a lower incidence of gut problems (there’s a gut-brain axis that impacts digestive function when we’re under stress), less depression, anxiety, and family/social/school-related PTSD.

If you had a mom like mine, please please take a moment–right now–and thank her.

If you didn’t, please take at least some comfort, however minimal, that it’s likely that she did the best she could with the “tools” that she was given, which may or may not have been much, or ideal; in that case, hopefully you had an aunt, a nice neighbor, a great teacher, or grandparent, etc, that could fill that role.  Everyone needs that patient, nurturing, all-accepting person in their lives; I hope everyone has somebody. 🙂

PS: If you are the mom of an Aspie, you already know that we’re not sick or wrong or bad; you’re well aware that there are talents and gifts inside your child that are as beautiful and amazing as the challenges are difficult.  If you’re an awesome mom and your child hasn’t told you as much, please try not to assume that they’re not thankful; they may just not have the words to tell you.  In my case, I had to write them to get them to come out the way I intend them.  And I thank you, on his/her behalf.  Happy Mother’s Day 🙂

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