The progress—every single bit of it. A new finger movement. A step taken. A syllable spoken. A word read. No development ever feels small or beyond squeals. (Ours.)
The therapists in our kids' lives. "I got Max to make a k sound!" said his therapist after his Saturday session and once again, she seemed like a miracle worker. (K's, p's and b's are particularly hard sounds to make.) Speech, physical or occupational, the therapists enable our kids and show us the way.
Their teachers, too. "Max has been blowing me away with all his singing!" a music teacher emailed from school last week. Singing? Max was singing? She'd gotten him to sing? Just, whoa.
The cuteness. Ohhhhh, the cuteness. No matter what challenges our children may have, they are not the least bit cuteness impaired.
The technology that gives our kids a voice. Max said something to me the other day, and I wasn't sure what it was so he tapped it out on the iPad. "Toysrus" he wrote. Oh. He wanted us to take him to Toys 'R Us. We might not always want to HEAR what's on our kids minds but thanks to the wonders of speech apps and communication devices, they can tell us.
Coffee. Coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee and...more coffee. Without it, we might never get out of bed.
And let us not forget: Pinot Grigio. [Or insert adult beverage of choice.]
Our children's adoration. Me, I'm "Ommy." And it is the best word ever. Before I was "Ommy," when Max didn't speak words, there was a special Mommy look of love.
Friends and family who treat our kids like any kid. No pity parties. Just people who know that even if our kids have their challenges, inside they are still kids.
Cracking up over the silly stuff. Because nothing feels more normal than laughing with your kid over a loud burp.
The babysitter. We need both a break and someone who knows how to take care of our kids. When that sitter shows up at the door on Saturday night, it's tempting to kiss her on the lips.
Empathy from other parents. Sometimes, all it takes is a little smile from a fellow mom when your child is having a sensory meltdown in Aisle 8 or on the airport security line to stop you from having one, too.
When the insurance company actually pays claims. Even if it took eight calls and the paperwork you sent got lost at least once and supervisors didn't have any clue what was up, the check really was in the mail.
All that our kids teach the world. Our kids are not "saints" or "angels" because of their mere existence, as some might believe. Sometimes, they are even brats. But they do show the people in their lives the many abilities in disability—and that amazing children come in all forms.