Happy Mother’s Day

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Last night when I opened my son Cooper’s backpack I found a gift that he had made me.

I cried.

Which may sound silly. I’m sure most mother’s are used to getting these types of gifts from their child’s daycare and then preschool and eventually school.

I’m not though.

Crafts clumsily put together with love, glue, glitter and color.

This one was perfection. When I showed it to him he clapped and gasped. He knew.

He can’t say Happy Mother’a Day…but he knows.

As I sipped my coffee I let the alligator tears fall.

Tears of joy and painful memories. Back when he was 3 and his differences and delays were not so hidden anymore.

Autism. His autism.

I remembered a specific day.

“Cooper’s in-home daycare reports had begun to get less shiny. Sentences about his refusal to follow the schedule or do the art project or play the game would gut me. Every one. A tiny prick to my side. Until the one that finished me off. This one coming verbally from the provider who refused to give me grace, even as a first time mom.

She said it as I walked up to the kid’s all playing together, my son seemingly oblivious to the game they were playing.

Before she said it I heard the ‘mama, I made you a present’ from a handful of other kids. My son’s age.

‘Cooper refused to hold the paintbrush for the Mother’s Day craft. I didn’t bother making you one because I assume you didn’t want to see my work.’

Watching each child run the craft to their mom or dad got me. My strength and resilience shattered.”

Some of you will comment who cares about those silly crafts. Get over it. Move on. And other things too.

It mattered to me then. And now.

I am so thankful for this. And I don’t care one bit that his para helped him with every step.

It’s still just as special.

Happy Mother’s Day to the mamas I walk alongside on this journey. I see you.

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. Follow us on FacebookInstagram, and join our supporter page, Coop’s Troops, for an amazing community full of support and understanding


Kate Swenson

Kate Swenson lives in Minnesota with her husband Jamie, and four children, Cooper, Sawyer, Harbor and Wynnie. Kate launched Finding Cooper's Voice from her couch while her now 11-year-old son Cooper was being diagnosed with autism. Back then it was a place to write. Today it is a living, thriving community of people who want to not only advocate for autism, but also make the world a better place for individuals with disabilities and their families. Her first book, Forever Boy, will be released, April 5, 2022.

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