But to those of you out there who are raising special-needs children, as I am, I'll tell you what, if you don't give yourselves a great big pat on the back now and then, I sure will!
I try to keep myself built-up, and by that I just mean that I know I make enough mistakes, (I see them mirrored back at me every day through my little boy), and sometimes its hard to feel that I'm making a whole lot of progress.
There's so much we need to teach our child(ren). Sometimes, it seems we're so busy "putting out fires" here that we don't get around to much "teaching". We have a long way to go, to be honest.
See for me, the thing about autistic kids, at least for my little boy, is that he doesn't just naturally learn the typical, day-to-day things that kids would normally just do. We're still working on getting him to brush his teeth, and dressing himself, and potty-training through the night.
We're still teaching him to play with toys properly, and that not ALL objects are toys.
We're still trying to get through to him that we don't scream, spit, throw, and break things when we're mad or upset.
The spitting is a tough one. I'm not even going to get into that one right now.
So every now and then, I have to just stop...and remind myself of all the time, effort, patience, hard work, and love we've put into this.
And instead of being so hard on myself, and harboring feelings of guilt or shame for all the things I haven't even gotten around to teaching my son yet, I have to pull back a bit and just love myself. By that I mean, give myself a break.
I've become quite good at keeping myself pumped up. Mostly, I know to turn to the Bible when I'm feeling especially down-hearted because I can't seem to make much progress in what I know is my job as Julian's mom.
Nevertheless, we get up every day and start anew. Put one foot in front of the other, press forward, and try to keep a healthy, positive attitude.
And pray. Lots of praying and asking God to give us the patience and perserverence we're going to need every day.
So for those of you who sometimes feel its one step up, two steps back, just know that you're not alone. Know that there are thousands of us out there all struggling with unbelievable challenges that no-one could have been prepared for.
Keep on keeping on.
Don't ever give up.
And pat yourself on the back.
You deserve it.