Sometimes I forget that the people who work with Jacob every day have made a choice to spend their time with special needs kids. I am so grateful that they have. It has to be one of the hardest jobs.
I was at an IEP meeting a few days ago with Jacob's teacher, a school district consultant, county DD services, speech therapist, the principal, and a few more professionals. I went in ready to stand my ground about what I think Jacob needs. (I seem to always jump to being on defense when it comes to situations involving my kids.) As has happened before, when I sat down with everyone and we chatted for a moment, and we shared funny stories about my son, I heard genuine affection for my little boy in their words and voices. I was reminded that they chose this, and I was filled with gratitude. The meeting went well.
A person goes into this type of career because they have big hearts. Because they are accepting, want to help other human beings, and open to challenges. And often because they have someone in their family or have had personal experiences with people with special needs. These teachers and therapists and aids and advocates truly care about the education and success of these children- no one is forcing them to stay.
I did not choose this. It was thrown at me. I've cried and mourned (still do) and eventually come to accept and even love autism. But I did not choose it. Its hard. Emotional, exhausting, messy, isolating. I could not do this on my own 24/7. I'm fortunate to have a husband who takes on a lot of the heavy load himself, and always understands and supports me in caring for our son. As much as we learn and improve our skills in managing autism, even the two of us combined aren't enough for Jacob.
Today I am feeling gratitude to the people who care for, teach, and enjoy my son as he is, and for accepting all the tough stuff that comes with him. I need these people, Jacob needs these people, and our world turns a little smoother as we all come together with the common goal of making Jacob's life the best it can be.