A Mom and Her Son

Welcome to the March 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting With Special Needs

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how we parent despite and because of challenges thrown our way. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

What amazed me most about Emily was how flexible and unwavering she was in the very same moment.  Her priorities were never confused and her compassion and patience often left me pondering where such depth came from.

But an unexpected love had entered Emily’s life, and suddenly there was nothing more important.  She became an advocate.

Emily’s son Sam is autistic. Her advocacy was not public and had no fanfare, and I had the privilege to work with this family over several summers at a local camp.

Every day Emily pulled up 20 minutes early with her son- who was dressed in the same one piece swim suit as the day before- and walked him around the campus.

Emily always waited until the official start of my work day to spend some time chatting with me.  About my life and some things that might make Sam’s day particularly enjoyable.  The conversation was always easy and smooth and in all of my time with her I felt only encouragement about my role with her beautiful and beloved son.

During those summers, I could not appreciate the time that Emily spent with me, or the amount of time she spent with her son as he adjusted daily to being at camp.  Most parents were running late for work and had just enough time to drop their child and a lunch bag.

Now that I am a parent myself, I have a better sense of all that Emily did.  How much time she spent educating herself,  how she thought about the best ways to communicate Sam’s needs to all of the people in his life.  I can now understand the time that she took to include people in her sons life so that his transitions would feel good.

This is how she became an advocate.

After our last summer together Emily wrote me a beautiful letter sharing my strengths and her gratitude for the love I had given her son.  I had not read it since having children of my own.  It is different now, reading this letter.  Because now, I am a mother.

And while I will not pretend to know what a day is like trying to advocate for your child whose needs are specific, I can begin to understand Emily’s motivations.

She loved her little boy.  And she would do anything for him.

Emily passed away from Breast Cancer about seven years ago.  And when I think of  Sam and Emily now, I picture them walking around campus before camp started. Emily carefully pointing out things that were different than the day before, laughing. And sometimes Sam would be looking right at her.

I now realize that this was Emily’s life; making Sam comfortable.

Emily’s life was exceptional, no doubt.  But when she and Sam walked around camp each morning, all we could see was the two of them exploring.  Just a mom and her son.

In Loving Memory




Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon March 13 with all the carnival links.)


6 Replies to “A Mom and Her Son”

  1. That is such a beautiful post. What a loving mom Emily must have been. I really appreciate the picture you’ve painted of her and Sam. Thanks for sharing their story for the carnival!

  2. Wow, what a beautiful story, and how thoughtful of you to have noticed the care and attention that Emily showed to her sons needs. You are right: we all just love our kids and want to do the best we can by them with everything we do. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Wow! This made me a bit teary……
    So wonderful that you recognized what a tremendous mother she was in her subtle advocacy. I was sad to read that she passed away from breast cancer. Her letter to you also demonstrated what a wonderful person she was.