Sometimes we need a little magic. A couple months ago, I entered my son in a Good Morning America contest. They wanted to reward three inspirational people (described in 200 “heartfelt” words) with a fabulous Disneyland or DisneyWorld vacation. The entries also needed to speak to the power of “creating memories” to tie in with Disney’s “Memory Makers” campaign.
I didn’t win that magical vacation for my child – and who am I kidding….if he had a chance to stay even one night at the Magic Kingdom’s Cinderella Castle Suite, do you think I would ever get him to come home??? But, the three inspiring people who did win each made a huge difference in someone else’s life, and I’m glad they were recognized. Plus, the contest entry gave me a chance to describe how my son has truly inspired me and changed my life.
Here is the little essay I submitted – keep in mind that it was written with attention to “on-air appeal” for a Good Morning America audience:
The person who inspires me every day is unaware of his dramatic impact on my life. Although my son’s autism makes it difficult for him to communicate, he is a powerful teacher.
- When he spends hours every week in school and therapy to master critical skills – he encourages me to appreciate the “simple” abilities I sometimes take for granted.
- When he bravely copes with a life that is often too loud and too busy – he fosters in me a sensitivity to people’s needs that may be different from my own.
- When he struggles to find the words – he reminds me to raise my voice to advocate for a more inclusive world.
- When his quirky behaviors make him stand out – he motivates me to celebrate the incredible diversity that exists in our families and in our communities.
- And, in those rare, beautiful moments when he breaks through, and we share a laugh, an insight, a connection – he moves me to seek out those unique experiences that will invite my child to express himself and to reflect on the shared memories we’ve created.
A Disneyland Resort vacation would offer that perfect kind of magic to inspire the wonderful boy who inspires me.
And now a note for full disclosure: I do not always live like this in my day-to-day existence. I rarely pause to consider — in the midst of a full-blown meltdown at Target — how lucky I am that my 12-yr-old, 110 lb son can express his feelings clearly without the worry of a social filter. Nor do I often patiently appreciate his unwavering enthusiasm for a favorite planned activity when he asks for it 5,000 times the night before the event.
It is usually only later (with perhaps a glass of wine) that I can reflect on how much my worldview has been altered by my child, and recognize the genuinely good things about that shift. These observations might be cheesy, but they hold a bit of magic in them. They reside in the back of my mind and reemerge to support me when my plans and aspirations are superseded by my son’s own expectationsand needs. It’s good to be reminded of how much I cherish that kid when he wakes me up at 5 a.m. on a Sunday, laughing at full volume for no apparent reason. Feeling appreciative of his uniqueness in that moment? Now, that’s a special kind of magic. 🙂