I’ve been toying with the idea of reflection. Reflecting on how life has changed and how we are handling it.

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.


I’m learning about advocating and proactively confronting social issues. Teaching Everett how to properly engage and play with others, as well as teaching them how to play with him.

I’m experiencing the joys in unexpected milestones. Everett drawing actual objects and people. His vocabulary catching up with his imagination. Him not hitting someone all day. When he walks the whole way across a balance beam without falling. Milestones most parents don’t think about.

Everett drawing actual objects and people

I’m trying to learn when to push Everett and when to let things happen on their own time. He’s at such a defiant age that I feel like I prepare for some unknown battle every day. It’s exhausting. I’m trying to learn when to actually pick the battles that are most important. “Fine you won’t get dressed? You can go to the store in your breakfast covered pjs while you rock 1 flip flop and 1 rain boot. Screw it”

One of the hardest things to know is where the disability is and when your children are being purposefully willful. Kids are kids and a child with a disability is probably not above using it as an excuse to get away with things. I’m learning to recognize where the line is, and it’s frequently fuzzy.

I think the way you manage that is by really trying to understand what your child’s specific challenges are. Yes, he or she has been diagnosed with autism. But what does that mean for your child?

For my kiddo, it means if I take him to a playdate that morning, if he doesn’t reset, that night he’s a total beast. I could assume he’s being purposefully “bad” , or I could say to myself, “Oh, he was at that loud & very busy playdate today and it took every bit of him to be in that crowded, sensory-overloaded environment. To be social, to make nice – that can be so draining for him.”

One of the things I’ve had to learn is to adjust my perspective on how children learn and understand the effect of the situations they are in. I’m a social person so I thrive at a party. But someone with social issues may not.


I’m also relearning about self care. Taking time with friends who AREN’T parents. Starting a photography business. I’m trying to remember that a healthy family needs a sane mother. Similar to the whole airplane spiel about “putting on your oxygen mask before helping others.”

Last, but not least, I’m learning to not underestimate Everett. Parents of special needs kids often think our children can’t go on without us. We’re obsessed with looking at the future and worrying about it. We know they’re going to have to function without us one day, but we worry that they can’t. We see them struggling with potty training well after their peers, we see them sitting away from the other kids at the playground, unsure of how to interact, and so on.

However, we also see their sweet tenderness and desire to learn. We see their joy and fascination at things we often don’t notice. And given the opportunity, we see them doing things we didn’t ever expect they could do without help.

Being a parent of a super special kiddo is hard, but after some reflection, it’s actually kind of beautiful too.

Super special kiddo Everett

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