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Thursday, September 2, 2010

My Fighter

The other day Ashlyn posted one of those post-if-you-agree-with-this status updates on face.book and when I saw it I held my breath for a minute or two.  

This is what it said...

Children with special needs don't have an illness, so there is no cure and it's not contagious. They want what we all want - to be accepted.


On one hand I was exploding with pride because she posted this, because she is her own best advocate and she is proud of who she is.
On the other hand I was scared out of my mind that she had just put herself out there, that she was "friends" with all kinds of middle-almost high school aged kids, and kids aren't always nice.

So I checked her status every two seconds a little while later for comments and the goosebumps began.

A few family members commented about how amazing she is, which of course, I already know :) but then a girl from school replied with: 

I just love you Ashlyn :)

And I knew we had made it.

My biggest fear, as Ashlyn has matured and the need to fit in and be like her peers began to creep in, was that Ashlyn would not feel like she belongs and would not find a place for herself in the teenage world.  

But she has.  She is who she is and the community we live in loves her for it.  

So when I sent her off for her first day of high school today I knew she would be just fine.  She has the support of our amazing family but more important to her right now, she has an army of teenagers who have grown with her over the past few years and will remind her to bring a pencil or open her locker or point her in the right direction even if they may have done it a zillion times before.  

There is no doubt that Ashlyn will be busting her butt to keep up in high school but I know she will surpass everyone's expectations as she always does.  I have watched her overcome every challenge in front of her with leaps and bounds and I look forward to watching her tackle the next four years with the same amazing spirit she has used to triumph over the last 15.

Ashlyn has what her face.book status said.

She has been accepted.  
She does not need a cure.
The only thing that is contagious is her attitude.

She has fought autism with a smile for many years and has always, always won.

As her mom, I will forever wish that she did not have this battle but am eternally proud of the fighter she has become.

Ashlyn and a few members of her "army"

7 comments:

Amy said...

Yea Ashlyn!

Marianne said...

Ashlyn is an amazing person and she has an amazing mom who has helped her become the person she is today. She never would have gotten to where she was today without all your care and determination through the last 15 years! Way to go Ashlyn and Jessica!

Sarah Halstead said...

What an amazing person! Thank you for sharing this.

Aunt Nancy said...

I couldn't be prouder of BOTH of you! I've learned a great deal about how to cope with life's challenges from both of you! Ashlyn has taught all of us about accepting who we are. She's become that wonderful person you describe, comfortable with who she is because she's had her mother, and her extended family (especially nana & papa) who have nurtured her and encouraged her to grow. You're all pretty amazing in my book.

Crystal Escobar said...

Wow, that was such a great post! So beautiful, what a great mom you are, and Ashlyn sounds amazing!

Nana said...

My fighters...Ashlyn & Jessica, both so strong for so many reasons, I love you both and am so proud!!

Stephanie said...

I also have a teenage daughter with autism. Along with her we have a four year old and toddler twins. I know what you are feeling everytime she steps on the school bus or posts on facebook. Ashlyn sounds alot like my Mariah always fighting and surpassing every goal that is put in front of her. I am just as proud of your daughter reading this post as I am of mine!

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