So God Made a Teacher Collection (Sale!) ➔

I found myself in a conversation with the cashier at Walmart today. She commented on the giant value size box of Pop-Tarts I bought and how her grandkids went through that same size box in a weekend.

“Oh, I hear ya!” I said. “My middle kiddo has autism and Pop-Tarts are pretty much the only thing he eats right now.”

“That’s too bad,” she replied. “I’m sorry your family has to deal with that.”

“Oh, we’ll just make a little extra room in the grocery budget. It’ll be fine.”

She looked at me with a puzzled expression and I realized she wasn’t apologizing for the obscene amount of pop tarts we were purchasing. 

No, she was sorry my son had autism.

I didn’t say anything because, like most difficult conversations, the words didn’t come to me until hours later when I replayed the conversation in my head in the shower.

“I’m sorry you’re so ignorant,” I thought. That would have been a zinger.
Or even better, “I’m sorry you’ve never had the privilege of knowing someone with autism.” That would have made her think about her apology.

But, I also realized this lady had no idea what she was saying. Shoot, there was even a time in my life when I probably would have told an autism parent I was sorry for her struggle.

But the truth is friends, autism is nothing to be sorry about.

Autism means my son sees the world in a different way than you and I do. Sounds are different, tastes are different, and the things he notices are different. I recently learned he even experiences hot and cold temperatures differently than I do! Sure, sometimes that’s a struggle, but learning new things is rarely easy. It’s also an amazing blessing! 

I’ve been able to look at the world from an entirely new perspective. He’s taught me to see the peacefulness that comes from a dark room and a cozy blanket. He’s helped me to see the simple satisfaction that comes from a perfectly lined up train set. He’s made me slow down and examine the underside of rocks, the insides of toys, and the way the wheels on a car all spin together.

He has taught me that words are such a small part of communication. Just as I teach him how to make other people feel loved and happy, he shows me what he needs to feel the same. 

I’ve taught him how to express when he is happy or sad or frustrated, and he has taught me that a big, tight, hug can help him work through those emotions I’ve made him label.

Autism has taught me to care less about what other people think and more about what we need to thrive.

It has taught me that being “normal” is overrated.

Autism has helped me see the true beauty that lies in the different, the strange, and the unique.

There’s no need to apologize for that.

This post originally appeared on the author’s Facebook page

You may also like:

Dear Autism Mom, You Are a Warrior

It’s OK to Grieve an Autism Diagnosis

Brandy Remy

Outdoorsy mom to 3 kids. Navigating life on the Autism Spectrum. 

As Another School Year Begins, Remember Mama: You Know Your Child Best

In: Kids, Motherhood
little girl holding a first day of kindergarten sign

Dear mom buying school supplies and feeling overwhelmed, Stop and pray. Ask God to help you envision each child as the young adult they can be. Write out your goals for that child . . . fair warning, there will likely be very little academic success in your goals. You may even have to go back and write those in. Take a deep breath. Keep this list of goals nearby. Go back and read them when the world is telling you your child doesn’t stack up somewhere. They aren’t reading as fast, they’re not “getting” math, their handwriting is wonky,...

Keep Reading

Little Things Can Be Self Care Too

In: Motherhood
Woman reading a book

My third baby has never been a great night-time sleeper. Around eight months old, he decided to add more middle-of-the-night feedings. He went from his usual two nighttime nursing sessions to four, five, or even more. With all the wakeups, I was getting a dismal amount of sleep. My lack of sleep led to low energy, low patience, and an overall low mood. I was constantly tired and grumpy. When playing with my kids, I would feel like I was in a fog. I was not able to enjoy their silliness or creativity but instead became easily annoyed and frustrated....

Keep Reading

I’m Done Feeling Guilty for Struggling with My Mental Health

In: Living, Motherhood
Woman walking down a sunny road

My mental health hasn’t been great for the past week. I couldn’t put my finger on what was going on, I just knew I was struggling. My whole body felt like I was squeezing, holding in the building tension of life, trying not to burst on innocent bystanders in my path. It took me days to finally clue in that it was my anxiety, a handful of little things combining to create a perfect storm. The endless cycle of sickness hitting my family, parenting pressure, and pain from past trauma. In retrospect, I guess it wasn’t little things at all,...

Keep Reading

Dear Overstimulated Mama, You Need Rest

In: Motherhood
Woman resting head on wall

To the overstimulated mama, I know you used to be a person who loved singing and dancing, games and riotous dinner parties with friends and family. You probably had the energy for a fun evening and loved to cuddle with your man. I’m sure your outfits used to bedazzle and your hair and makeup would make you feel like a million bucks. Oh, how times have changed. Now, a Friday night on the couch is the most coveted activity after a week of little hands all over you, pulling, dragging, squeezing. Your kids keep most of the cuddles you used...

Keep Reading

Trying To Conceive Almost Ruined Our Marriage

In: Baby, Marriage, Motherhood
Man and woman back to back on bed

“I know it’s not true, but I feel like you don’t love me anymore.” My husband’s words caused me to freeze in my tracks. I had been on my way out the door, but as soon as those words were uttered, I knew I wasn’t going anywhere. The words hung in the air, and I held my breath, mind racing. What could I possibly say to that? I slowly turned around, silently waiting for my husband to continue. Which he did. “I feel like you don’t want to have sex with me anymore.” I cringed internally. Clearly, I wasn’t the...

Keep Reading

Every Time the Doctor Says, “It’s a Girl!” My Heart Grows a Little More

In: Kids, Motherhood
Sisters sitting on park bench

When I’m in the grocery store with my girls, I always get comments. My oldest girls are walking near the cart with my two-year-old running up and down the aisles. “Three little girls! Wow! God bless you, Momma!” Then they look in my cart and see the car seat holding my nine-month-old. “Is that a baby boy in there?” “No, another girl!” I reply. I get a variety of responses when people realize I have four girls under the age of seven. “Wow, you’ve got your hands full!” “Going to try for a boy?” “You are truly blessed—your girls are...

Keep Reading

When Your Last Baby Goes to School

In: Child, Motherhood

In just a few short weeks, our daughter will start preschool.  On Monday and Wednesday mornings, she’ll sling her little backpack over her shoulders, pull on her tie-dye sneakers, and head out the door. If you ask her about it, she’ll get a big grin on her face and tell you how excited she is. But me? While I’m ready for her to go and fully confident she’ll thrive, my stomach has also been doing flip-flops at the thought. Because she’s our youngest. Our little. Our last. If you’ve been here before, you know: When your last baby goes to...

Keep Reading

Raising a Child with a Severe Food Allergy Affects the Whole Family

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy looking at ice cream cone

I saw something recently that said, “It’s National Ice Cream Day today!” and I cannot stop thinking about it. Now I know that sounds silly, but as a mom of a child with a severe dairy (and egg) allergy, I must admit at times it makes me sad (and more often jealous if I’m being completely honest) when I know my son is going to miss out on another fun or “normal” thing that other kids his age are experiencing, like actual ice cream and ice cream parties. If I continue to be honest, I get jealous when I see...

Keep Reading

So You’re Not the Fun Parent…So What?

In: Kids, Marriage, Motherhood
Woman reading book while two play in background

I’m not the fun parent in our household. Of course, this comes as no surprise to me but it still stung when my 8-year-old said to me rather bluntly the other night, “Daddy’s way more fun than you.” And while the rational part of my brain knows better than to take this kind of comment to heart, my super-sensitive, highly emotional primitive brain did the exact opposite and ran with it.  Daddy is the more fun parent. I’m the stricter, more rigid, and more uptight parent. I’m not the type of parent who, in the spur of the moment, will...

Keep Reading

The Rollercoaster of Foster Care and Adoption

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother daughter photo on beach

After spending most of their childhoods in foster care, Addy and her brother Dominick had never been to a birthday party or down a water slide. They missed out on many childhood staples, but it was the least of their concerns. Addy was riddled with anxiety and panic attacks—crippled with fear that she would age out of the system before getting adopted. She carried a backpack full of anxiety fidgets to cope with her uncertain years in foster care. She had such a bad case of TMJ that the kids at school mocked her for adjusting her jaw every ten...

Keep Reading

Get our FREE phone wallpaper to encourage you as the new school year begins

It's bittersweet for a mother to watch her child grow—but you both are ready to soar.