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“Eternally Grateful to Autism” – Why I’m Thankful

With Thanksgiving this week, it seems an apt time to step back and think about what we’re thankful for. Like we did for our Father’s Day series,  we reached out to some of our AHSS team members and asked them to share what they’re most thankful for in being moms of autism. Our third entry comes from Maryanne Nugent

Thankful for autism? That just didn’t seem possible when my son was first diagnosed. But as the years have passed and my “world” of autism 11-22-16-maryanne-why-im-thankfulhas grown, I can’t help feeling a tremendous amount of gratitude.

Last Friday night I had dinner with four women whom I have known for the past 15 years. Our boys attended an integrated preschool program together and, along with many other special moms, we have navigated this wild, frustrating, enriching journey. We toasted our boys who are seniors in high school (They’re 18! When did that happen?). We toasted the achievement that all five boys have their drivers licenses (What?!). We laughed and cried about how far the boys have come since their days on the “short bus.” For these women and these friendships I am eternally grateful to autism.

I am also thankful for the many educators that have taught my son along the way. The incredible patience they showed him (and me) over the years is unparalleled. Not all were perfect, but there were so many who picked up the slack and kept moving Drew along. I anticipate his high school graduation will be heavy on emotion as I think back on all of those teachers. I’ll save the tissues for June and for now I’ll offer up a huge Thank You!

Finally I am thankful for the kindness of strangers. There have been countless acts over the years in grocery stores, at playgrounds, in airports, and more. Thank you for the small gestures, encouraging words, and understanding smiles. You restore my faith and buoy my spirits in a way that even a best friend can’t.

Thank you for showing kindness to a stranger and her quirky, difficult, hilarious, handsome son.

Happy Thanksgiving!

by Maryanne Nugent, Autism Community Consultant & mom of autism

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