November 24, 2009

Giving thanks

That time of year is here where we are asked to count our blessings and think of what we are thankful for. I'm glad we don't have the tradition at our Thanksgiving table of every person saying what they are thankful for. This year, I'm not sure what I'd say.

I am thankful that I have a healthy, adorable little boy. I am thankful that we got a diagnosis early and that we didn't have to fight too hard to get him the help he needs. But would I be more thankful if he didn't have autism? If he were the little boy I envisioned - and still hope for - him to be?

I am thankful for the progress that he is making. That I can finally rejoice in each new word and song and animal sound. That when Moe sings, which he does all the time, he is singing a few words now, not just humming. That he can match shapes and colors, count to ten, sing the alphabet. And when he says his sister's name or "cockadoodledoo" it is the cutest thing in the world. But would I be more thankful if he were playing like the other kids his age? Responding to his name? If he was in preschool and talking back to me and picking on his sister?

I am thankful that I can be home for my kids and not pressured to go back to work just to make ends meet. But would I be more thankful if I had the choice? If I were agonizing about career changes and daycare options, and not stuck at home while Moe's therapists come and go, invading my house all day?

I am thankful for my daughter, so full of smiles and laughter. She is a light in some otherwise kind of dark days. But would I be more thankful if I had the time to really enjoy her this first year? If I wasn't so surrounded by autism, engulfed in it? If I weren't so frightened that she could have delays too, watching even now for signs that I wish I had caught earlier with Moe?

I don't know. Maybe I wouldn't be more thankful. It often takes adversity to make us see what we really have. So this Thanksgiving, I'm not going think about what I don't have, or what would be easier or better. I'm certainly not going to be thankful for autism, but I'm going to try not to dwell on it either.

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