Nov 21, 2011 0 Share

A Cozy Cliché

Family at Thanksgiving dinner, turkey in foreground.

Sometimes coming up with column topics can be a bit of a challenge. But on the Monday before Thanksgiving, what better time is there to cuddle up with a warm and cozy homemade cliché? Here is my list of things for which I am most thankful:

I’m thankful for my son’s growing independence and his embracing of that independence. The more he gets, the more he wants, the more he thrives. He may never read a newspaper article with a high level of comprehension, but he can figure out a public transportation system like nobody’s business. I am so thankful (and relieved) that his independence is blossoming. It’s a thing of beauty to behold.

I’m thankful that my local school system realizes what they do best, and that special education isn’t one of those things. Thankfully, there have been no drawn-out battles regarding my son’s placement in a private school. (Basically, I’m thankful I’m not paying tuition!)

I’m thankful for my husband’s patience, understanding and support of my son. We haven’t always been as fortunate as to be tuition free, nor has my son always had the best work ethic. My husband has been an active parent to my son, and has helped him and me in countless ways, never once belaboring the fact that he is doing this for a step child.

I’m thankful for my son’s excellent team of teachers that have his best interests at heart. I understand and appreciate that it takes a certain kind of person to teach and support this population. It’s not an easy job, nor is it one that will make a person wealthy. For everyone out there that works within the Autism Galaxy, you deserve an extra helping of thanks yourself.

I’m thankful for my son’s compliance and desire to do well. I realize that I am fortunate in that I tell my 16-year-old what to do, and he basically does it. He respects my parental authority, even if he doesn’t always agree with me or understand the rationale behind my request.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to flex my parenting muscle. June Cleaver must have been bored out her skull! No wonder she had time to perfectly press her house dresses and polish those pumps! What’s great about having your parenting feet held to the fire on a regular basis is the reward of seeing your hard work paying off. (That and the calluses seem to deaden the pain a bit.)

I’m thankful I’m not cooking this year. The family and I are headed to the Big Apple for some shows, shopping, and chef-prepared meals. If my son doesn’t like his Thanksgiving dinner, I won’t have been the one slaving over the stove, only to receive a look of horror on his face when he sees his plate. I have Christmas to look forward to for that.

There are many many more things for which I am thankful, not the least of which is having a forum like Autism After 16 available to me as a writer and a parent. It’s so rewarding to be a part of this growing community, and I hope that our followers are learning as much as I am as we embark on this journey. Happy Thanksgiving to all!