A Ray of Hope


During April’s Autism Awareness Month, I blogged about some of the challenges families often experience when they are unexpectedly called upon to transition into a lifestyle that includes raising children with special needs.

In honor of my daughter Carrie on this MOTHER’S DAY, let me share some of the joys of raising a special needs child.

My dear autistic grandson has always had a marvelous smile.  One day when he was about four, Carrie said, “Aaron, when you smile at me, you make the sun to shine!”

Like many kids on the autism spectrum, he has a wonderful memory for numbers, dates, and trivial facts. And when he wasn’t much more than a toddler, the family would often defer to him when they couldn’t’ remember exactly when something had happened.

“That was July 23rd,” he might reply.

And when they checked their calendar, he was always right.

One Sunday early in May, four-year-old Aaron was up long before his mother, checking the calendar.

“Mama,” he called out, running into his parents’ bedroom.  “Mama,” he said.  “Wake up!  It’s May 10th!  Happy Mother’s Day, Mama!”

Then he walked over to the window and peeked out.

“Oh, but it’s raining!” he said, his heart sinking.

Then he remembered.

“But I know how to make the sun shine,” he said.  And he ran to the bed and gave her that wonderful smile.  The kind that makes the sun to shine.

Now Aaron is a 21-year-old college student, and a couple of days ago I overheard Carrie and Aaron sparring with each other, good-naturedly teasing.

When Carrie left the room, Aaron said to me, “That’s one of the things I love about my mother.  I can give her a bad time, and she will give it right back.”

And that’s one of the things I love about them both.  They know how to make the sun shine for each other.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, CARRIE!        From your proud mother, Sharon Sheppard

©Sharon Sheppard 2016