Dear JJ and Moo,
If I had to choose one habit that I wanted you two have for the rest of your life, I would pick for you to always give thanks. ALWAYS. No matter what. This has been one of the biggest life lessons that I've had to learn since my twenty-something odd years on Earth. While this is no easy feat to master, it's well worth practicing. Why?
A lot of people underestimate the power of being able to always give thanks no matter what the situation is. They feel like what's the point in giving thanks or being thankful when things don't go way. Many people don't see the value in demonstrating gratitude even in the midst of difficult times and hard trials. I'm so glad that I'm no longer one of those people.
You see unconditional gratitude changes everything! It's the difference between having an entire bad day versus having one negative moment throughout your day. When we are able to give thanks when life is at its worst, bad things don't consume you as much. Practicing unconditional gratitude helps to make us more humble, more compassionate, more understanding, more optimistic and more trusting of God's path for our lives.
Moo, when we found out you had septic hip right after your second birthday, I was more afraid than I had ever been up to that point in my life. A week early you had just had a check-up at the pediatrician's and she had said that we should expect you start having growing pains because you were hitting the age that it started to happen. She mentioned that one of the places kids feel pain when their bodies hit a mini growth spurt were in their joints like in the hips and legs. So that first day you complained about having pain in that area, I thought it was from you having some growing pains, but by the next day things had gotten progressively worse really fast.
We ended up going to three different hospitals, seeing a bunch of specialists and listening to talks of them possibly having to put you under and do a test that could have left you paralyzed or more. I wanted to fall to pieces, but I prayed instead. The first thing I remember saying when I started praying was "Lord, thank you." I didn't give Him thanks because I wanted you to be sick or in pain. I gave Him thanks because for allowing me to not overlook something that turned out to be really serious.
I was grateful that we were surrounded by some of the best children's specialists in the world and that everyone was working hard to figure out what was going on with you. I gave Him thanks because I knew that whatever the outcome would be, I had had the privilege of being your mom and together this situation would make us stronger. And it did.
You were such a trooper as they poked and prodded you giving you x-ray after x-ray and running blood tests as well as urine tests. While incredibly painful, I was relieved to find out that septic hip was rare, but could happen to you again at point in your life. I'm grateful for this past experience because now we know the warning signs should it indeed happen again.
JJ, helping you manage your special needs has helped me to become more grateful that we all have differences. You are so uniquely you and I love it! You can be incredibly shy at times, but super bossy. Sometimes you can't always express your thoughts using words, but it's made you a million times better at expressing your love for us.
I'm grateful for the opportunities to have witnessed the power to overcome hurdles that is within you. I know that it's hard being autistic, but you don't like it slow you down. I give thanks that instead it's built within the spirit of a fighter. Not the kind that fights with his hands, but his heart, his will and determination to achieve greatness no matter how big or small.
Being your mom has taught me that being normal is subjective. You're beautiful just as you are. You challenge me to be more and I love it.
Just remember, you two, that life won't be all roses, but when you learn to always give thanks, it won't be all bad either. Everything happens for a reason and for that alone we should be grateful. I love you both!
Click on over to Everyday Eyecandy to read LaShawn's letter to her oh so adorable son, Pookah: http://wp.me/p3Pek5-2VP