Thank you.

Today is our autism awareness walk coordinated by the amazing people from our local society. I’m pretty lucky that the company that I work for will pay for an employee and their plus one registration fee. Last year we had the biggest team and this year it looks like we will keep that title.

Many of my friends, coworkers, and my husband’s students join this race for my son. And I feel so blessed. Blessed that we have an amazing group of support. And I don’t take this for granted. ❀️

Last year when we won the trophy for the largest group, I was asked by our PR department to take a pic of everyone in the team as well as my son. But if you all remember, my son had a rough time and getting pictures was the least thing on my mind.

This year, we arrived early and eager to get started. I was prepared. I had his iPad charged, my daughter brought grapes and his crackers, and we had his wagon with his favorite blanket.

We were ready.

But my son had a different story.

It was too much.

The music, the people, it was too much. He immediately started struggling. My husband would put him on his shoulders and the monkey was hitting and scratching. It was rough. He left my husband pretty badly marked.

So we brought him to the truck. I was thinking he needed to cool down. I told my husband to go with his students and I will wait here for a while with the monkey.

We have been here for 45 minutes in the vehicle. The monkey is finally happy. He is eating his grapes watching his cartoons as we see the runners pass us.

Obviously this wasn’t the outcome we wanted. After working so hard coordinating everyone’s registration and tshirt distribution (we got a lot of help from my husband’s students), the goal was to walk with our friends and family and be part of this awesome event.

Not sitting on the sidelines watching everyone walk by.

But that’s okay. My son doesn’t follow the rules. He won’t fit in the cookie cutter forms that are given. He marches to his own beat.

And that’s okay.

He is different. He is unique. And that’s what makes him pretty cool. ❀️

As we are sitting here watching everyone walk/run for this event, we can see all people, different races and genders, different ages, from all different sides of the spectrum. And it’s beautiful to see. And I feel so connected to this community. We share this undescribable bond. We understand each other. πŸ™

Autism awareness doesn’t end in April for my family. This is why spreading awareness is our main goal. So to everyone that woke up super early to walk or run the 5K to assist in spreading autism awareness, thank you. To everyone that reads my story, that shares it, that talks to others about autism, thank you. To my husband’s students, who are always there for these types of events. For one student in particular student, Priscilla, who stayed up all night making posters for the run. Thank you. Thank you for helping us pave the way. Awareness leads to acceptance, which leads to inclusion.

You are part of paving the way for a better future for kids like my monkey.

I cannot find the words to describe the amount of gratitude, the depth of appreciation that my heart feels.

All I can say is Thank you. πŸ™β€οΈπŸ’™

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