When I peer into the future, I see my daughter advocating for the rights of special needs humans.  I see her spreading her love through song, through dance, through her witty story-telling.  She is a light that shines bright in my life.  Whatever she does – and whomever she becomes, I do know a few things about my daughter. …

 She is fierce.  No one can tell her what to do or when to do it.  And in her short five-years, she has embraced being that strong force and nurturing soul for all persons she encounters. My lil’ girl climbs boulders and big rocks in her lilac tutu.   Nothin’ gets in her way! …

… She is fabulously loving.  On the days when my son has no words for hours, or when he spits tears from his eyes, or things just are not right, my daughter wraps him with love.  Every time I see her put her hand to his arm and say, “It’s okay.  I love you.  Take a breath,” I sit in amazement.  I am struck with awe.  How does my lil’ girl know so much about love? …

... She sings loud.  My girl sings with joy and exuberance and passion.  In the coffee shops, she stands on the chairs and belts out “Let It Go,” while holding her cake-pop microphone in on hand.  Nothing stops her from her voice and her love for music.  She feels the beat and the sounds within her small body … and in turn shares it with the world.  …

As a mother, I am constantly reminded by my daughter that life is force to be reckoned with, to be celebrated, and to be loved.

And as a mother of an autistic child, my daughter teaches me to remember that she is also here.  She is boisterous and she is fabulously loving, because she knows … She knows her brother needs a constant sanctuary of quiet, of love, of understanding, and of clarity.  She knows more than I’ll ever be able to share.

Yet, it is important to remember that I am her mother and she is my daughter.  There are many moments when I have to remind her to play and have fun and not worry.  I say things to her like, “I’m the parent and I want you to be you,” and “I love how much you love your brother.”  As easy as it is to allow her take on the role of the protector, I have to constantly nudge her to remember her spirit and her love for all parts of life.  I have to remind her to be a child.

My message to any parent with an autistic child is this:  Remember the beauty of both of your children.  Remember each child offers the world something unique.  Remember to learn from the moments offered from each child.

Remember our children are children.

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