As I lay here with my son Xander, as many of my followers know is affected by autism – I read through posts of friends and families who are also affected and they feel as if they are all alone fighting alone. It saddens me to know that they feel alone when they’re not. I’ve lost a many of “friends” over the last 4 years, since Xander’s diagnosis but I’ve come to realize what a true friend is since then. Having a child on the spectrum or any special needs child for that matter has it’s challenges. Things aren’t suppose to be peaches-n-cream in the special needs world. If it were, we wouldn’t have been chosen to be the strong parents we are. We have all lost a “friend” or “family” member from time to time because “our” world is too much for them to handle, they aren’t sure how to approach a situation or they’re just uncomfortable. Those “friends” or “family” will find an out in a minute. Your “real” friends, your “true” friends and family are the ones who have seen what you go through on a day to day basis. They’re the ones who have seen your son/daughter have a full meltdown throwing everything in hands reach. They’re the ones who have been a victim of a bite attack. They’re the ones who have seen you wrap your kid in a burrito because it’s the only way to calm them due to sensory overload. They’re the ones who give you the pep talk when you need it most. They’re the ones who have seen it all and yet still have your back and support you any way they can even if it’s just a friendly phone call to see how your day is going. Every day is a challenge but every day is also a great adventure and an opportunity to learn and teach our special kids something new. I’m like a kid at Christmas when Xander does something new. I’m actually in tears at any new thing he does that he wouldn’t ordinarily do – like touching the TV screen when I ask him to show me what show/movie he wants to watch or when he comes to me to cuddle with a blanket and pillow out of the blue because he sees an opportunity to get close to me or that funny moment when he puts every one of his autism run medals on and runs to me proudly jingling down the hall to show me and sits in my desk chair with the biggest grin. I always hope in those moments that I’m quick enough to snap a quick pic with my phone before he stops because it’s moments like those that I so truly cherish. A friend recently told me, “I believe God hand picks people to be parents to children with autism”. I couldn’t agree more with what he said. I’m proud to be Xander’s mother. I’m proud to be an Au-Mom and I couldn’t imagine life without autism. It’s who we are, it’s who we were selected to be. Those that are still standing with you at the end of the day are the ones we call “friends and family”. Remember you’re NEVER alone. “Let us not forget that it is in our differences that true beauty is found”.