I didn’t know back then.

Post from the hubby:

When I was little guy, there was a year when my parents got separated. My mom took the decision to take my brother, niece, and me to California. This was a big change going from the “barrio” to a beautiful community where we would live for a year. We were a broken family, living in a garage, of someone’s home. My mom was the cleaning lady and did many different types of jobs to feed us, clothes us, and put a roof over our heads. I didn’t know then that we were “poor”, I mean we were kids and kids always see the best of things. All we needed was the street to make it our playground.

Thirty-three years later, I am lucky to still have my mom. She is 84 years old and she still is a very fierce woman with piercing eyes that let me know when she is upset with me for something. She comes from a “rancho” in Durango Mexico. She was denied an education because she was born a girl and girls didn’t go to school. They stayed home to work. This was the culture she comes from.

She struggles to understand my sons’ Autism. She knows he is a special needs child but often questions why he is still not fully potty-trained, or why he is not speaking. As much as she loves our monkey, she worries for his well-being and the future ahead. When she visits, she is drawn to our monkey whom we named after a son she had lost at birth.

She is very proud of my wife and me. She cares not for the degrees or the type of house we have but for the parents we are to our children. She watches me when I am cooking for my daughter/son and she is grateful that all the lessons she taught me have given fruit. She loves to see how much he is loved and the urgency we take to address his medical needs. My mother taught us the value of work and the value of keeping our home in order. She taught us to iron our own clothes, how to prepare food, and to be the hardest working individuals we can possibly be. The times when I have shared with her my mistakes or mishaps that have happened with our monkey, she re-assures me that this has happened to everybody and reminds me to be patient with myself.

Autism is so different in each family. We know that our families are different and have special circumstances. However, the lessons from that past and where we come from can still be of so much value. Maybe revisiting the past can remind us that we were on some type of training. Some type of preparation for the situation at hand. Thank you my “jefita”, you were preparing me for today, for this moment. I just didn’t know it back then.

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