Today is Thanksgiving Day in the US, and I am indeed feeling thankful. Here's some of the reasons why---
1. I live in the right time in history. In the past, Janey would not be able to go to school. We would have been blamed for her autism, or we would have been told to put her away and forget her. Or worse. Nothing is perfect, but I think of all the historical eras I could be living in, I've hit the jackpot with today's world.
2. I have a wonderful husband. Tony, I couldn't do it without you. Literally. I think I'd be dead by now. You are there when Janey wakes 10 times a night, when she screams for hours, when she cries for days. You are there for the good times, too. You make her bacon whether she eats it or not, just because she likes the process. You sing with her, recite Three Stooges with her, delight in her good moods. You are amazing.
3. By twists of luck too improbable to seem like sheer chance, Janey is attending exactly the school I would have dreampt up for her, had I been dreaming up a school in my head. The Henderson Inclusion School is something I am extremely, overwhelmingly thankful for.
4. Janey has two amazing brothers, terrific young men who love their sister, who help me with her, who have fun with her and just treat her like a sister should be treated, with teasing and laughing and fun.
5. I am so thankful for music, and for Janey's love of it. The whole day is often filled with song, surprise tracks of pieces she's heard long ago and old favorites mixed together to make a medley I love to hear.
6. Modern medicine. I have all the questions and concerns and worries about it that most of you probably share, but when it comes down to it, I wouldn't be here to have those concerns without it. I'd have died long ago from preeclampsia when pregnant with William. Tony wouldn't be here without insulin. Freddy would be here without the magnesium sulfate and skilled care that got him through a potentially deadly asthma attack as he turned eleven. And Janey, without the medications I love to hate and hate to love, would not be able to be making the strides she is, I do believe.
7. All of you, and the internet that allows us to connect. Even twenty years ago, I would be alone in this all, maybe having met one or two other families ever with autistic girls. Today, I can reach out and talk to many, many people about this tough journey, people that understand and have been there. That's pretty darn amazing.
8. And of course, I am thankful for Janey herself. Janey, you are one terrific girl. You are beautiful, fascinating, mysterious and so often, a joy. You have brought me many challenges, but you yourself, you amazing girl, you make it all worth while. I love you, Janey.