Be aware that you are not alone. Be aware that there are entire communities of us – locally, online, everywhere – joining together for solidarity, support, and advocacy.
Be aware that we’ve got each other’s backs.
Be aware that not only is grief a normal part of this, it is required. Give yourself permission to go through it.
Be aware that your child is the same precious soul as the newborn baby you once held.
Be aware that some days you’ll feel like you can’t do it, but you will.
Be aware that we’re now free from being average, and are instead free to kick butt.
Be aware that autism allows amazing gifts to be expressed that otherwise would not be.
Be aware that your child will achieve something after trying so hard for so long, and you’ll feel like you all won the World Series. Be aware that this will happen regularly, and often when you least expect it.
Be aware that some days you will float on air and feel like anything is possible.
Be aware that often it is also a desperate marathon. It can feel like 26.2 miles over and over again, and you’re wearing six layers of drenched corduroy, while carrying a dump truck on your back.
Be aware that you only have to go one step at a time.
Be aware that being angry or afraid or frustrated or burned out or desperate is completely normal. If you feel completely crazy, be aware that someone else is too; it’s only when you either feel sane or feel nothing that you might want to worry.
Be aware of words like hope, advocacy, determination, community, faith, love, and perseverance, and don’t forget them.
Be aware that one thing unites us and transcends everything we disagree on – the children we love.
Be aware that there are people preying on our fears and becoming rich off of that. Be aware that there’s a special place for them, and it’s not a particularly nice one.
Be aware that autism is never the same from day to day or person to person.
Be aware that our children grow into adults and that we must fight for the rights of all.
Be aware that autism will lead you to some of the kindest, most skilled, and compassionate people in the world.
Be aware that by accepting the challenges you will experience an even greater joy when they are overcome.
Be aware that life can feel like a constant fight against somebody or something; be aware for whom you are fighting and draw strength from that.
Be aware that everyone we meet is fighting a great battle in their lives, regardless of who they or their children are. Be gracious, and model that for your kids.
Be aware that the sun does come up every morning.
Be aware that you are stronger than you think you are.
Be aware that some days all you can do is just roll up your sleeves, hike up your big boy or girl pants, and dive in.
Be aware that love is always the best therapy.
Be aware that you should never say never.
And be aware that I wouldn’t trade my life for anything.