The Power of an Extraordinary Mother

I had the honor of getting to know a family recently who has five adult children. The mother spoke in admiration as she told me that two of her son’s are doctors, one is a lawyer and one works in corporate finance. All four are married and have kids.

And then there is Morgan. Their fifth. Their youngest. She is 27 and is autistic. She didn’t speak until she was five. She told me about the struggles early on. How she had to educate the schools. And navigate the system before ‘autism’ was an every day word.

Today, Morgan works as a cashier at a grocery store full time and lives with her parents. She is part of many sports teams, has a great group of friends and lives a full life. And the mother told me how proud she is of all of her children. They are all successful in their own ways. But she is most proud of Morgan.

The love beamed from her eyes as she spoke about her. She didn’t speak about Morgan with sadness or speak about her other four children separately.  All five were amazing to her. In that moment, it dawned on me, that success is not always the big career or money.

Success is measured in different ways for different people.

Not everyone may see that friends. But as parents, we need too. I think about my own children.

My five year old potty trained himself at age two, while potty training Cooper was a drop down, exhausting, fight to the death, battle that took five years. Skills come naturally to Sawyer while Cooper has to learn each one. I am so proud of both of them. They are both successes in their own ways. One isn’t less than. I don’t even think about them differently.

This blurb showed up in my Facebook memories today and reminded me of how we as parents defend, honor, advocate, educate, and push our children tirelessly. We do this whether the successes come easy or not.

I shared this story a few years ago. I don’t know if it’s real or not. Who knows. It actually doesn’t even matter. It was exactly what I needed at that moment in time. And again today after coming off a tough meeting about Cooper’s diagnosis. Take a read.

The Power of an Extraordinary Mother

One day, Thomas Edison came home and gave a paper to his mother. He told her, “My teacher gave this paper to me and told me to only give it to my mother.”

His mother’s eyes were tearful as she read the letter out loud to her child: “Your son is a genius. This school is too small for him and doesn’t have enough good teachers for training him. Please teach him yourself.”

After many, many years, Edison’s mother died, and he had become one of the greatest inventors of the century. One day he began looking through old family things. Suddenly he saw a folded paper in the corner of a drawer in a desk. He took it and opened it up. On the paper was written: “Your son is addled [mentally ill]. We won’t let him come to school any more.”

Edison cried for hours and then he wrote in his diary: “Thomas Alva Edison was an addled child that, by a hero mother, became the genius of the century.” ‪

I cry every single time I read this story. I cry because I know exactly how that mother felt. The worry. The fear.

And despite the fear she rose up. She did what was needed for him.

My kiddo is making his own path too. Who knows where he will end up. He may live with us, work at a grocery store or he may become the greatest inventor of the century. We just don’t know. And no test can tell me what the future holds. It just can’t.

But I do know that I will continue to raise him up and talk to him like he is the smartest kid in the world. And I will beam with joy when I describe my amazing son’s successes.

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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When my son was first diagnosed with autism no one was talking about it. Autism was hidden. I vow to change that.
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