“Hi Mrs. France, we wanted to call and let you know that everything was fine with Jack’s X-rays. There are absolutely no abnormalities.”

As your mother, you would think this would have been a phone call that I was elated to receive. Instead, I hung up in tears.

It’s not that I want anything to be wrong with you, my sweet boy. I was just hoping that what was going on was something that could be “easily fixed.” I thought that maybe you just couldn’t hear the world around you very well.

What followed were weeks upon weeks of appointments, evaluations and testing. An emotional roller coaster filled with endless questions and worry about what your future may look like.

As I sit here now digesting all that the doctors have told us, I realize . . . 

You were always special.

The way you showed us that our family planning was a little off and that God had bigger plans for what would be our family of six.

You were always special.

You quickly made your fierce entrance into this world, again showing me that my planning wasn’t always going to be the way. You showed this mama just how incredibly strong and brave I truly could be.

You were always special.

Your overly energetic behavior was your way of showing your excitement for the world around you. Your energy and incredible cuteness had us all wrapped around your little finger from day one.

You were always special.

You didn’t follow the typical charts. You strayed from “normal” behavior, instead you interacted with the world in your own unique way.

You were always special.

You were always so fascinated with anything that had wheels. Studying their movement back and forth for extended periods of time seemed to allow you to enter a separate world that calmed you.

You were always special.

When you turned two, you showed us that we drastically underestimated the “terrible twos.” From the epic public meltdowns to the seemingly stubborn ways you wanted things exactly your way but just didn’t know how to tell us. You truly humbled us as parents.

You were always special.

Now, we have come to realize that you are even more special than we ever really understood. So special, that others in this world want to officially label you with that word; that’s just how very special you are, my boy.

But know this, my sweet Jack, even though you are now labeled “autistic” and have “special needs” and may not fall into the norm of learning and adjusting to the world around you, a label will not define you or limit you. You will thrive. I know this. You will accomplish anything you set your mind to. We—your family and your community—just need to learn what special help you may need in which to make that happen.

This is all new for your dad and me. We have gotten past the self-blame and doubts, and have arrived at a place of acceptance. Our focus now is on giving you all the love, support and help that we can. Please be patient as we try our best to adapt and learn all we can in order to allow you to be all that you are meant to be.

And please always remember, baby—you were and always will be special. Your unique needs are what make you YOU, and that is such a beautiful thing.

Love always,
Your mama

Vanessa France

Vanessa France is a mom of 4 children - ages 12, 11, 9 and 6. After losing herself in alcohol addiction and now almost a year sober, she recovers out loud in hopes to help others that may find themselves in the grips of the lonely world of addiction in motherhood. She is fueled by her faith, family and fitness; all which help carry her through her sobriety. Facebook: www.Facebook.com/VanessaFrance Instagram: www.instagram.com/_vanessafrance_