I used to think my success as a mother was measured by my children’s milestones.
If they were a valedictorian walking across a stage, or a bride walking down an aisle, it meant me as a mother had done it right.
My worth was wrapped up in what they could accomplish.
And then I discovered both of my children had autism.
A few years into parenting children with special needs, I now know a secret few parents are privy to:
That the only way to fully love a child is to love them for their identity—not their abilities.
Because of autism I no longer see scored goals or straight A’s as markers of success. I no longer believe if I played an instrument then they must too. The most miraculous milestones in our household are their loud laughter, happy flaps, and a million other daily miracles that go unseen by the common eye but add up to exactly who they are.
Children are made by us but their identities are entirely unique. And a parents job is not to push a child toward performance or perfectionism or their own idea of success—it’s to embrace the person they were always intended to be.
Accomplishments don’t equal a life well lived.
Every child deserves the opportunity to be themselves.