Tuesday, December 3, 2013

help us spread hope!

My dear friend, Erin, and I have decided to put together a service project this Christmas to benefit all those Mothers who are hospital-bound during this special time of year. Our own unique experiences at the University of Utah NICU and Maternal/Fetal Units have filled our hearts with empathy for those families who are currently spending every waking moment fighting for a baby they love within those walls.  

Please visit our site and join us, if you can! If you'd like, you can read more about why we're doing 
this below.

Dear Friends,
This Christmas season we have much to be grateful for. We are looking forward to everything that comes with the holiday season: decorating our trees and watching our children immediately re-decorate them, assembling gingerbread houses at annual family parties, watching The Christmas Story by the fire, and wrapping little presents in the late evening hours after our babies have gone to sleep. 
Just a few years ago, Jessica celebrated Christmas much differently. Instead of being home with her family, she was up at the University of Utah, in the Maternal/Newborn Care Unit, confined to a hospital bed. The pregnancy of her first child, Evie, was high-risk and required her whole body, mind and spirit to be fully focused on keeping her baby alive and growing inside of her. Jessica spent 7 weeks up at that hospital, and she watched Christmas and New Years Day come and go in that lonely little hospital bed. Many nights were spent watching snow softly fall outside her windows, shifting from her left side to her right, and placing her hand firmly on her stomach, waiting for a reassuring kick. 
It was a hard time, made more difficult by the holiday season looming outside of Jessica's hospital room. Life seemed to pulse on for everyone else, but in her world, life had stopped altogether. She'll never forget that Christmas of 2010, and the never-ending ultrasounds, NST's, and IV's that punctuated her time there. Christmas is a time for miracles, and in the end, she got hers in the form of a beautiful 5lb 15oz baby girl she and her husband named Evie. She finally left the hospital on January 24, 2011, and shed many tears as she walked out of those doors and back toward her life.
Less than two years later, she found herself making that familiar drive toward the University of Utah hospital, where her second daughter, a newborn named Nora, was being treated at PCMC for a life-threatening condition called Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC). The hospital became her home, once again, this time as her newborn daughter fought for her recovery, and Jessica watched helplessly at her bedside.

Christmas is a magical time for most of us, but it can also be a heartbreaking time for many families who find themselves in similar situations. This holiday season, we are asking you to remember those families who are spending Christmas inside the walls of the University of Utah Hospital, specifically those mothers who are facing life-threatening pregnancies, like Jessica was, or those who are spending every waking moment at the bedside of a tiny loved one in the NICU, like Erin.

Erin and her husband are what the NICU nurses lovingly refer to as “repeat offenders” since both of their two boys were in the hospital.  Henry, Erin’s oldest son, was born in fetal distress and spent four days in critical care.  Two years later, her second son Eddie decided to arrive 12 weeks early and spent 61days in the NICU.  Between the 65 days that she spent in the unit with her boys, she learned more than she ever wanted to know about living in the hospital and worrying about a sick baby.  Being a NICU mom means being forced to wait and from the minute that her boys were born, Erin waited for most of the special moments that all mothers and babies cherish.  

After their births, Henry and Eddie were immediately passed into the NICU for emergency support and Erin was not able to see either of them until hours after they were born.  Erin waited for 4 long days to hold Henry for the first time and six days for the chance to hold Eddie close.  During those first scary hours when the condition of both boys was still uncertain, she waited for encouraging news in her hospital bed and desperately prayed for hope, help, and peace.  As the days progressed, she waited for test results and status reports in the hallways of hospital and in the unnaturally quiet walls of her home.  But mostly, Erin spent her days in the NICU by the beds of her children as she watched as they fought for their lives. 
Tragically, Henry took his first and last breaths in the NICU and Erin is still waiting for the chance to be with him.  Two years after Henry’s death, Erin waited for Eddie to grow in the very NICU that her oldest son lived and died.  She winced with each blip and beep of Eddie’s monitors and she prayed that he could have a peaceful and full life.  She talked with his nurses each day and on the bad days, she cried and wished for a better life for her second son.  Thankfully, the day did come when Erin’s wait was over and she and her husband took Eddie home.  At 37 weeks gestation and exactly 5 lbs, he was just as impatient as his parents were, and he couldn’t wait any longer.

With so many babies born each day, there are some like our Evie, Nora, Henry, and Eddie, who will come under special circumstances and who need extra help.  By the grace of God, all babies will come into a loving home with good parents who will stay by their side and support them.  But even mom and dad need help now and then.  And during this season of giving, we ask you to remember the mothers.

On Friday, December 20th, we will be delivering care packages to women in the Maternal/Newborn Care Unit and the NICU at the University of Utah Hospital.  These packages will be filled with magazines, lip-gloss, nail polish, lotion, encouraging cards and treats, which we hope will make a big difference to these exhausted and brave mothers who are living their lives in the hospital this Christmas. Sometimes, we all need something special to remind us we haven’t been forgotten, and to help us get through another day with hope in our hearts. With your help, we hope to provide that love and support to these special mothers in need.

We know that there are many worthwhile charities and causes that are deserving of your help.  But we also know that even the smallest donation to us will make a big difference to a mother who is tired because she has spent two months in the NICU with her baby who was born at 23 weeks.  Or to another mother who has been on bed rest in the hospital for a month and is fighting each day to keep her baby.   

We are not a non-profit and your donation will not be tax deductible.  This is a grass-roots effort that will be fully operated and managed by us, but rest assured that the money that you donate or each cookie that you bake will go to a deserving mother in need. We would be so humbled by any offering you can give us, whether you donate your time, money, or talents, we would be thrilled to have your help.

With Love and Gratitude,

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

dear will | you, at one.

written on 11.12.13
Dear Will,

Will, you wake up every morning with a huge grin on your face. Usually, you wake up before your sisters, stand up strong in your crib and start to talk quietly in the darkness until I hear you. The moment I open the door you fall over with laughter, throwing yourself face first into the blankets to hide from me as you squeal.

You love to play peekaboo behind the bench in the family room. You pull yourself up on your stocky little legs and peek your head over to "boo!" and then squat back down to hide again. At one, you are a lover of toys. You love balls and cars the very most, and spend nearly all of your free time pushing a car back and forth on the hardwood floor and making a little "vrrrrrooooom" sound. You are also an expert ball thrower, and love to play pass with your little soccer ball, or roll it back and forth with a giddy smile on your face.

Will, you are perhaps the drooliest baby that ever lived. You have 6 teeth: two on top and four on bottom, and you are cutting something like 25 more. Your mouth is a leaky faucet that never stops and your kisses are always ice-cold and wet.

You stick your tongue out when you are concentrating and you clap your hands together when you're trying to sign "more". You are an adventurer with an eye for trouble and you love to sneak away, crawl up the stairs, and get lost somewhere doing something naughty. You often go into the kitchen to open the kitchen cabinets and empty out all the Tupperware, and the bowls. If I give you a wooden spoon you love to bang on them enthusiastically, like a little drummer.

You really love to do things all by yourself, and you get so upset if I don't let you. Like at breakfast, when you're feeding yourself your yogurt with a spoon--sometimes the spoon turns upside down and you lose your rhythm and I take it away from you to try to reposition it in your hands, the second it leaves your grip you are devastated. You also love to try to push the baby stroller around the house and laugh uncontrollably until it tips over and you fall, your little body folding in half and your bum up in the air. You are honestly the cutest little boy in the world.

You might not always be, but for now, you are sensitive. You have a tender heart that breaks easily and often. You don't like to be set down, especially not in the morning, and you will cry your eyes out the moment your bum hits the ground with your arms reached up towards me. You love to get your way and you smile proudly to yourself every time I walk toward you with my arms outstretched to scoop you back up. You give me the sweetest little grin through your tears.

At one, you have the tiniest little body, with short, sturdy little legs, a big round belly, and cherry-red lips. Your pouty lips are one of my favorite things about you, second to your amazing head of hair and the way you bury your head in my shoulder when you're feeling shy. 

William, you are Evie's favorite person in the entire world. You make her smile from ear to ear and have helped her to understand and feel the love of a sibling. She kisses you no less than 100 times per day and sort of chokes you as she tries to give you a hug, a little bit frightening, but sweet. I don't know how your relationship will change and evolve as you grow, I'm sure that it will, but you have blessed her life immeasurably just by being in it.

Sweet Will, I love so many things about you. I love to watch you try to put the legos together and bang the drum with the sticks. I love your tiny, soft, voice and your quiet temperament. I adore the way you reach out so enthusiastically when you want something and I love hearing you say "ball" 62 times per day, and your other little words: mama, dada, and of course, uh-oh! You are our sweet baby boy, our little man, the absolute joy of our lives. We cannot imagine our lives without you!

Happy Birthday, William Mats. I love you too much, my handsome baby boy.


Monday, November 4, 2013

the year of you.

This afternoon found me sweeping the floor.

Two little babies up in highchairs eating grapes and cheese and leftovers rolls from dinner.

Music playing in the background, we danced a little bit as I swept. I pointed at the piece of cheese Will held up for me to examine, his little round face beaming with pride. I asked Nora for a kiss and then leaned in when she opened her mouth wide as can be for mine.

And then, out of nowhere, I started to cry.

In a few days, these babies of mine turn ONE.

It's not such a big deal. It shouldn't be as dramatic and final as all of us Mothers make it out to be. It's just a day, just the passing of time, just going to sleep one night and waking up the next morning.

But, oh my heart. 
It hurts.

I've tried to explain it so many times this past year; here, on this blog, and during late night conversations with my husband, while grateful tears rolled down my cheeks. Or in my prayers to God as I fall asleep at night. I will never be able to explain it, but these babies, these curious, sticky, smiling babies.

These babies have saved me. 

I look at their sweet little faces 100 times each day, and each time I look at them, I am reminded of how deeply God loves me. How well He knows me. How mercifully and perfectly He has cared for me during this hard year, as I cared for these babies.

How wiping their little bums, and filling their little tummies, and rubbing their foreheads softly until their eyes closed has been my therapy in every way. I will be forever grateful that God sent me the two of them, just in the nick of time.


Sweet Will & Nora, I look at you and I feel all the goodness in the world surrounding me. I feel all the hope of a bright and beautiful future for our family. I feel the promise of eternity; of knowing that I am your Mother, forever. Of knowing that despite Autism, or any of life's many challenges, all of us are going to be just fine.

Thank you for this year; this beautiful and miraculous first year of your lives. Thank you for soothing my soul, melting the worry with your gummy grins, and making me so happy.

*Will & Nora must have assigned seating--I just realized that, in every picture except one, Nora is on the left. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

seven years.


Greg and I celebrated our 7th Anniversary on the 28th of September.

Usually we plan our Anniversary together, just choosing somewhere great to go to dinner, but Greg surprised me this year with a weekend in Park City. He arranged the hotel and babysitter in advance and had the hardest time keeping it a secret. He ended up telling me a few days before and I loved that he couldn't wait.

Saturday morning we drove our kids up to the cabin and dropped them off with Geir & Margaret and then headed down to Park City. We went to the outlets to shop and have lunch and then headed to our hotel. We stayed at the Park City Hotel, which was so nice and had the most beautiful views of the mountains from our hotel room. That night Greg took me to dinner at Ruth's Chris (my first time), where I about died over the deliciousness of my roasted chicken and mashed potatoes (OH MY GOSH) and then we saw a late night movie together. The next morning we slept and slept and slept (heavenly), had a long brunch, and then went to get our kids, which I had just begun to miss.

It was the perfect way to celebrate our 7th anniversary and we had a wonderful time away from reality for a little while. I'm so glad to be married to my Gregory John. I love that he is excited to spend time alone with me and is thoughtful enough to plan a little getaway to make it happen. It truly meant so much to me.

This past year, our 7th year of marriage, has been our hardest year, by far. No one could argue that having newborn twins and a toddler diagnosed with Autism in a year would be difficult. At times, this year has been desperately stressful. But, it has also been such a beautiful year, for so many reasons. I cannot talk about the way that Greg has loved and supported me this year without tears coming to my eyes. Truly, every time I think of it, I cry. When I think back on this year, I know I will remember his strength first. All the nights (countless, endless nights) he spent holding me and comforting me, talking me through my fear and pulling me out of the darkness and back into the light. I survived Evie's diagnosis because of him. I got through it because I had him by my side. Greg has such a strength and a quiet confidence about him that fills me with peace and comfort, when nothing else can. He has always been the calm to my crazy. We have weathered some serious storms in our 7 years, and we've come out on top. How I love this man, our perfect little children, and the beautifully flawed and happy life we have made together.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

tonight you are 11 months old.

written on 10.8.13
Dearest Will and Nora,

There are moments these days, in the middle of the night, when the world is blue and fuzzy, when one of you inevitably wakes up. There is the heart racing swiftly to the sound of your cries, the eyes shutting tighter, the body turning hesitantly toward the moon, when I do not want to lift my weary legs up, or out, to meet you.

But, I do.

There are moments when I come to you. To you, my Nora. Or to you, my Will. And lift your warm body from the bed, place your blankie under my neck, on my chest, and your head falls against me, softly.

We sway.

There are moments, in this silent hour, this 2am, when I can feel all the world shift slightly to make room for us there. Me, your mother, and you, my baby. We rock peacefully to the beat of our lullaby. And it is in these moments, I find myself resting, finally. Breathing, steadily, in and out. Feeling your heart pulse against mine, stroking your soft, blonde hair. It is in these moments that I find my serenity.

There are moments when it feels as if all the worry the world holds lives right inside me, on my chest, on top of my lungs. At times I feel as if I weigh 1,000 pounds. My body, like lead, moves slowly, heavily, through the motions of caring for all of you. You, up the stairs and back down again. And me, exhausted, depleted, reaching out for something to grab on to.

And then one of you looks at me, a beaming, bright smile. Drool, like honey, falling from your rosebud lips. You, crawling towards me, falling on me, pulling yourselves up and into my lap, to find your place here, on top of me.
And I am weightless once again.

Today you find yourselves, 11 months old.

And I should be writing about you, my darlings. About you standing up on strong little legs, and then plopping down softly, a hesitant landing. About the waving and clapping and the signing of "more". You, pointing to the picture of the tractor in the book, looking up at me with eyes of wonder. Watching my lips form words, "ba ba ba?" you say. "Ba ba BALL" is my response. You, eating everything, banging your hands up and down on the highchair for more. You, giggling from the crib in footie pajamas as your big sister circles the room like a hummingbird. You, watching her intently, and you laugh, as she dances for you. And you laugh, because you love her.

I should be writing about you, my babies. But I can't tonight, for tonight I only have the words to say what you have done for me. You, my miracles. You, who came so suddenly, so unexpectedly, into the world. I wasn't looking for you, or praying for you, or asking for you, and I didn't know how desperately I would need you. But, He did.

I hold you there, at 2am, in the silence of the love that settles around us.

And you hold me.
Hold me up, hold me together, hold me on, until all I feel is the goodness of this life we share together. Until all I can see are your eyes falling quietly toward the earth, your body relaxing under the weight of my arms, your fingers grasping softly.

I know I am where I belong. And I know you are where you belong. And Evie is where she belongs, sleeping peacefully down the hallway. And the sun will rise tomorrow and we will struggle, and try, and make our way through another day.

We will hold each other as we go along.


Monday, September 30, 2013

sweet signs of hope, indeed.

The essay I wrote after Evie's diagnosis was shared over at Where Did The Bird Go on Friday. Chelsea calls these stories "Sweet Signs of Hope." And although I'm proud of the words I wrote, and I DEEPLY meant them, I'm not sure that what I wrote really illustrates any of those sweet signs of hope I see in her. The words were written more from a place of denying and then accepting this new reality. Hurting, but also beginning to heal. It was an essay written about me, really. About being her Mother. But, this really isn't about me, it's about her. And there is so much more to say about her. There is so much more to explain. There is so much life in my little girl. Daily, hourly, she fills my heart with hope, and with pride. She is learning so quickly now, each day finding her way closer to where she needs to be. Its only been a few weeks since I wrote that essay and already I'm in a new place with my feelings about Evie's diagnosis. Already, there are SO many new signs of hope. I wanted to share some of them here.

(Disclaimer: I am slightly hesitant to share these. If you don't understand Autism it might be hard to understand the significance of these things, especially if you're comparing her to your typical child. I hope you'll understand that some of these things are miraculous feats for a 2.5 year old with Autism.)

-Evie sitting in her high chair eating a snack at Nana's house. My brother Scott, who no longer lives there, walks in. "Hi Evie!" he calls out to her. "Scott?" she says, smiling at him. She turns to me, "it's Scott?" she asks. "Yes! Yes, Evie! Scott! It's Scott! Good saying Scott!" I can't remember EVER trying to teach her his name.

-After being away from my kids for a 24 hour anniversary getaway with Greg we return to pick them up from their grandparents. I come inside the cabin and call out for Evie. She turns at the sound of my voice, a huge smile on her face and runs to give me a hug and a kiss. "Mommy!!!" she calls.

-At bedtime I ask her to please go get her blankie and bring it to mommy so we can go "nigh nigh." She runs to the next room, climbs on the couch to reach it, and comes toddling back dragging it behind her. "Nigh Nigh" she says, handing it to me. "Let's go nigh nigh."

-Looking at her picture book and labeling the items as we always do, but this time Evie points to every picture as she says it. "Snake, car, cat, frog, fish, dog, moo, baah, bear, ball, milk, baby, cake, outside, shoes..." Point, point, point. Are you seeing this, mommy? I see a ball, do you see it, too?

-Evie sitting on the couch when Nana gets home from church. "Hi Evie!" She calls out. "Nana!" Evie responds, as usual, but then a tiny little hand pops up and waves.

-Evie playing a little game of chase with Will. He crawls toward her and she runs away squealing with delight. After a little while, he turns around and begins to crawl away. "BAAAAABBY!!!" She yells at him sternly, clearly demanding he stay there with her.

-Evie asking me to "eat" for a "snack" or a drink of "milk." Requesting, with words, to "go outside, go downstairs, watch Mickey, go nigh night, get down, get out, put on her sleep sack, take off her shoes." Communicating all of these desires effectively when 3 months ago she would have not known how and simply cried instead.

-Evie, at family dinner, as we cut a birthday cake and sing "Happy Birthday to you"...I'm watching her as the rest of the family watches the birthday boy. A huge smile on her face, she wiggles and bounces to the song as we sing. Not knowing how to sing along, but wanting to be involved, she simply sings out "HAPPPY!!!! HAPPY!!" from her little position in the back, beaming with joy.

-During lunch I'm practicing the signs "more" and "all done" with the twins as we eat. Evie knew them too when she was their age, but lost them. "More, more!" I say as Nora taps her hands together for me. In the corner of my eye I see little Evie watching her, making the same sign, once again.

-Leaving the cabin, saying goodbye to grandma and grandpa. "Goodbye Evie!" Grandma says. But I know she probably won't respond (Even though she has close to 70 or 80 words now, and is verbal, hellos and goodbyes are among her biggest struggles). "Goodbye!" calls grandma. And miraculously comes a confident little "bye bye" from Evie Jane.

-Nora playing with a toy when Evie yanks it away. Nora starts to cry. "Evie," I say, "you have a turn with the toy and then you give it back to Nora. Okay, Evie's turn with the toy...now Nora's turn with the toy," I tell her. Immediately, she bends down and gives the toy back to her little sister.

-Evie sitting with me in the living room playing with the shape sorter. Each one she gets in elicits an enormous applause from me. "Good job, Evie Jane!" I cry! "Good putting the shapes in!" All day long, now, I am saying these things to her. She obeys me when I ask her to put something back: "good listening, Evie! Thank you for listening to Mommy!" She starts to run down the street but turns around when I call out to her: "Good listening!" I cry. She comes to me in my bedroom, communicates to me that she wants the ball on the shelf she cannot reach: "Good asking!" I say. All day long I am saying these things to her, and in her eyes, I see it. A spark, a shimmer, that recognition of pride for a job well done. She is speaking to me, I am hearing her, and we are finding our rhythm. At night I lay her down in her bed, "Goodnight, sweet girl," I say. "You were such a good girl today. Mommy loves you. Mommy is proud of you." She gives me a kiss and a little squeeze, and I can see in her eyes, she gets it.

Autism can sometimes feel like a great disconnect between you and your child. You are crying out, struggling to reach a child who does not want to be found. Losing Evie; that is what I feared most. I thought, if they told me that Evie had Autism, that's what would happen. I thought I would lose her.

But each day it is becoming more and more clear. I am not losing her, I am finding her. We are not struggling apart from one another,  we are constantly reaching out for one another, embracing in our struggle and in our understanding. So much of the frustration of this past year is beginning to fade away and I feel that I am seeing her clearly, once again.

"Mommy!!" She calls out to me upon my arrival, her eyes sparkling as she runs in for a kiss.

 Remember me? I'm the one who loves you.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

the gift of empathy.

I've been thinking a lot lately about Nora. About Nora and NEC, to be more specific. It seems strange to me that it was only 9 months ago that my tiny Nora was laying in that incubator up at Primary Children's NICU with a pic-line in her chest and a warm pack on her tummy to ease the pain of slowly starving. It was the hardest thing I'd ever done at that point in my life, sitting in that chair in the corner, watching that baby starve. And yet, I hardly think of it now.

When the twins were first born and in the NICU at LDS Hospital, I spent a week in a tiny, cold little room on the Maternity floor by myself so I could nurse them. Greg stayed home with Evie, and the hospital let me stay there on "hotel stay"--I used the room and they left me alone. There was a tiny little window in the corner and it snowed almost the entire week I was there. I lived my days in 3 hour increments; an hour with Nora, an hour with Will, an hour in my little room, and then, repeat. It was only a week before Nora came home, but my loneliness magnified the time and made me feel certain I would be there forever. I remember at one point, my friend Lindsay made the drive up to the hospital to visit me and I just sobbed the entire time she was there. I felt so stupid to be sitting in the corner of the lobby, opening her gift to me, with huge, hot tears streaming down my face. I couldn't get it together, I couldn't even talk to her, I just cried. It was one of those hard moments that you're certain will last forever, but of course, it didn't.

Sometimes I think back on this year and wonder what I've learned. It's been such a big year for my family, a really hard year, if I'm being honest. And I think about it and I wonder. Why do these things happen to us and what have I learned from all of it? How have I changed? When I think of Nora's time in the hosptial, I don't remember being heroic or strong or wonderful, I remember being sad. I remember being angry, even. And then I wonder, did I waste it? Did I waste the opportunity to become better?

And then I hear of our family friends who are in the same NICU with their own twins, one of which is fighting for his life, and I feel gutted. The memories of my own tiny babies, so fragile and helpless come flooding back to me and I am filled, to the brim, with empathy and love for them. So much so, that it brings me to tears every time I think of them. While we're driving to grab lunch, or while I'm brushing my teeth, or slicing an apple in the kitchen. Hot, salty tears running down my face, and buckets and buckets of empathy.

Sometimes I think back and remember what it felt like to be carefree. Sometimes I go back before Autism, before therapy and early interventions, before NEC, before the twins, before gross motor delays, and low amniotic fluid, and 7 weeks of hospital bed-rest.

There I am.
I was carefree.

Sometimes I miss those days, those days of thinking that bad things would never happen to me, or to anyone I loved. I was completely naive to the trials others were going through. Completely oblivious. It was easy to be. It was an easy road to travel, thinking that my life would always be good, be perfect, even. And then, I realize, that's how I've changed.


I don't know what I learned from 7 weeks of hospital bed-rest with Evie, except for what it feels like to go through 7 weeks of hospital bed-rest because of a high-risk pregnancy. I don't know what I learned from the twins, the NICU, Nora & NEC except what it feels like to experience something like that. And I don't know what I'll learn from Autism, except, maybe, what it feels like to have a child with Autism?

To wonder if your baby will live or die. I get that, I remember that, I know that pain. And it has changed me. It's in the quiet sadness I feel for our friends, or the gratitude I feel when I hold sweet Nora, tickling her thighs and watching her shriek with laughter, and remembering that once, not too long ago, I thought that I might lose her.

I suppose it would be easier to erase all of it and go back to that time when life was easy. When I didn't know what any of this felt like. When I couldn't relate or understand or carry anyone's sadness on my shoulders. That would be easier. But, I wouldn't choose it.

I wouldn't choose to let go of the relationships I've built with so many life-long friends who've walked beside me during these things. Friends who understand suffering, and loss, and worry so big it feels like it will crush you. To have that relationship that's built on something so shared and sacred. That's a blessing. I wouldn't choose to give it up. I wouldn't choose to let go of the memories of service. The miracle of watching others surround us with love and kindness and hot meals on our doorstep.

I wouldn't choose to let go of the hard things, even though that would be easier, because I wouldn't choose to let go of the empathy. I wouldn't choose to undo the experiences that have filled me with humility, taught me that life goes on, things get better, tomorrow always comes, and time softens the blow.

I'm hoping that eventually I'll get there with Autism, too. That eventually I'll look back and realize that I wouldn't change it. I'm not there yet, not even close, but I hope that someday I'll understand this well enough to be grateful for it. To be filled, to the brim, with the empathy for another person that somehow makes all of it worth it.

I think, so far, that's what I've learned.

I'd love to hear your perspective on this. What do you feel like your trials have taught you? 
Were the lessons learned worth the heartache or would you just undo it all, if you could?