I’m Thankful for the Ultimate Grammie

I am honoring my mother, the ultimate autism Grammie, Hughena Gear. I am thankful for her for so many reasons.

If you look at the definition of thinking outside the box, she defines it. There is not one thing she will not do for her grandchildren.

Our eldest son Emmett was diagnosed with autism almost three years ago, he is now six. Mum has been there every step of the way. They relate, she sees things how he does sometimes, stuff that we may not able to see right away. If something shifts with him, she can sometimes pinpoint what happened to create that shift.

Mum is an advocate every place she walks through in this life. She fights for more kindness and awareness every single day for everyone with autism. Growing up she wanted nothing more than for me to be my trueself. It wasn’t having the best of this, the most of that, it was just be you and don’t change for others.

Mum’s message carries on with Em and Sam, our two boys. She wants them to be exactly who they are, she doesn’t want them to change for the world. I heard a lot of stories leading up to Em’s diagnosis, a lot of sadness and despair of parents finding out that their kid is autistic. I felt much more content after we were told, I felt like I got the answers I was searching for.

I believe I felt this way because of my Mum, and I am grateful she helped create a perspective like that for me. It doesn’t mean we don’t have bad days, bad weeks, sometimes a couple of months. But Mum can change your mindset like boom, she can say something and change it around.

She has more faith in her pinky finger than any other person I have met in my life. This is just the tip of the iceberg of how thankful I am and for what reasons, I could write so much more.

Mum is the autism Grammie you want in your corner, she wants what you want, and she is a support when things are messy.

I will never be able to thank her enough, I just make sure we supply her with Easter cream eggs and rockets, that woman runs on them.

The Definition of Unwavering Faith

From the very beginning my mother has shown nothing but unconditional love, as a mother and grandmother.

There was a time when it was just the two of us, she was a struggling single mother. That time we had really showed me what is actually important in life.

As far as a parent goes she was all I had. If she did not exist I would have had nothing.

The hard times, the two of us in a one bedroom apartment, that grew a big part in my heart that you just need the people you love and it will be okay. Material things do not matter, time means more.

When I became a mother, I understood how much she loved me because as soon as our first baby (Em) arrived I felt that unconditional light in my soul just the same. She showed me we all make mistakes and no one is perfect, and all of that is totally okay because we live and learn from it. Just don’t carry it, move on.

Even when she went through ovarian cancer, her biggest worry was finding the perfect funky colored wig if she lost her hair. Hughena, my mum, is the definition of unwavering faith.

My son Emmett is a lot like my Mum. He has her eyes and the outside the box mindset like she does. Mum is a big safe space for him, he can be who is he with her and she tags right along. They get one another on this level no one else does.

She is a big influence to him, because she shows him how okay it is to be himself. If Em wants to walk backwards up town, she goes backwards with him, even with her bad hip. There are no barriers as far as what she will do to make his world a better place, a place he feels secure.

Em will go through life knowing his grandmother will always have his back and be there, even walking backwards and dancing in the grocery store, there are no limits of love there.

Mum lives four hours away, but when she is home every second weekend or more, she jumps right in to help and be there. You see, Mum does not see any of this as help, she sees it as being with family, being with her grandchildren.

Em and Sam get her whole attention in those hours she is here, she loves it as much as they do. Life cannot get much better than seeing a grandmother be as involved as she is. She makes life more funny and bubbly for those boys. If there is a difficult Em moment, a bad meltdown, she will tell us to step aside and she deals with it. This gives us a break, because she knows the majority of the time we have to walk him through it.

I know from talking to other families that not all autism grandparents do this, some walk away. I am thankful for when she steps in sometimes, because I love Em with my whole being, but some moments I feel some relief when she takes the reigns of it.

I need that break to breath for a minute. Mum has changed us as a family, because she gives us that strength to power through. Mum wants us to do the best we can and be successful.

She does not want us to dive into any sort of cave with doubt. Mum keeps the fire burning if that makes sense, keeps us going along and staying strong for every one of us.

A Bit About our Family

Our family consists of myself, my husband Jason, and our two sons Emmett and Samuel. I am a stay at home mother, but I do write books as well on our autism life and experiences.

Jason and I have been married almost ten years. Emmett is six years old and Samuel is two years old.

I home school Em in Grade Primary right now, we hope to homeschool both boys. My grandfather lives with us, we live in the house I grew up in most of my life.

Our daily life is very busy, I am on my toes most of the time for sure. In the daytime I am in full mom mode, but when the boys go to bed I like to write and if we have a little bit of time, my husband and I enjoy The Walking Dead and pretty well all horror movies.

Our life is fast paced but at the same time very quiet and simple. We have to do everything a little differently as an autism family, but at the end of the day we are so used to it now and know what works for us.

Written by, Alex Cormier

My name is Alex Cormier, I am a mother of two boys,Em and Sam, and married to my partner and friend Jason for almost ten years. We live on the wild and wholesome island of Cape Breton in Nova Scotia. I am a published author, I write about autism, motherhood, and other real life topics I feel passionately about. My hope is to help the world be more educated about autism and kind to everyone. Click HERE to follow my blog.

(Editor’s Note: This article was provided by Alex Cormier and is part of Cooper’s, ‘I’m Thankful For You’ Campaign.)

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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 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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