It’s that time of year.  Everyone in the United States is thinking about what they’re thankful for.  There has been a thread up on my mommy message board about it for a week, but I never really took the time to think about it until tonight.  I was baking my gluten, casein, and soy free pumpkin pies for tomorrow and I started thinking.  Yes, I know, thinking is dangerous, but I couldn’t help it.

I never would have imagined that this would be my life.  I realize most parents of special needs children feel the same way.  I quit asking myself why long ago.  That question is one we should never ask ourselves.  It only leads to discontent and heartache.  Instead, I look at all the moments I enjoy that other parents miss out on.

I’ve watched my oldest son learn to walk twice.  That’s just amazing.  He took his first steps when he was eleven months old and again when he was five, after several surgeries and months in a wheelchair.  I think the second time was even more exhilarating than the first.  In that moment, my heart swelled with pride and I forgot about the pain he suffered throughout his ordeal.  Better yet, so did he.  He took those steps and never looked back on the darker days.  I am thankful for my son Tycen who has shown me to always look on the bright side and remember that the bad days are fleeting.

I’ve watched my youngest son look at the world in a whole new way.  He has shown me that things are amazing.  Have you ever really looked at a ceiling fan as it spins around and around?  It’s intoxicatingly calming.  Have you ever marveled at a light being switched on and off?  It makes you remember that we have wonderful things in our lives that we take for granted every day.  Have you ever really noticed what speech means to us as human beings?  Every time he says a new word, I am reminded of just how precious communication between people is.  I am thankful for my son Roman who has brought a whole new world of understanding to me.

I’ve watched my daughter, the only one of my children who isn’t special needs, interact with her brothers.  She cares for them, caters to them, and occasionally fights with them, just like any other sister would.  She is immensely giving and kind.  She yields to their needs before her own.  Yet, she doesn’t see her brothers as different than anyone else she interacts with on a daily basis.  I am thankful for my daughter Tanis who has taught me how we all should act and that people are people no matter their level of needs.

Yes, like any mother, I am thankful for my children.  But I think I am luckier than most.  I have special needs children and they show me things everyday that makes me remember just how blessed I really am.  So, this Thanksgiving, I am most thankful that I am can call myself mom to children with (and without) special needs.

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