We have had our fair share of ups and downs living life with autism, times when we are so “down” that I forgot what “up” looks like.
But then there are moments I experience because I have a child with special needs and I just have to sit and think…
how lucky am I?
The girls varsity soccer team Ashlyn helps manage has a scrimmage and picnic each year.
The freshman, junior varsity and varsity teams combine and then split into two teams to verse each other in a fun game with a trophy of bragging rights.
Ashlyn was given the opportunity to play this year. A small gesture from the team, a never-to-be-forgotten day for her..
My dad, her biggest cheerleader, and I, attended the game and tried to stay seated and act natural as Ashlyn headed onto the field. She did her best to keep up but mainly ran along as the girls headed from one end of the field to another.
And then she got the ball. As soon as her foot was on it there were cheers from both team benches, her teammates helped her along and her opponents did too.
This happened three more times during the game. A team full of teenage girls, gave mine a chance to shine.
No one worried about if they would be winning or losing if she scored, they stepped back and let her go.
I sat, well I didn’t sit, I scaled bleachers with my camera, screaming “Go Ashlyn!” like a crazy momma while tears pooled under my sunglasses and thought about how lucky I am to have this moment…
a typical morning of soccer for every other parent in those bleachers but me.
The weight of years and years of struggles giving way to heart-exploding pride.
I know every single girl on her team worked very hard to get where they are and I hope their parents were proud of the character they showed on that field, but me?
My cheeks still hurt from smiling and I don’t think I will ever forget my moment, our moment, watching my daughter triumph and being so eternally grateful for how autism has touched our life.
How five seconds with a soccer ball mean more to the two of us than a driver’s license or a high-scoring SAT.
The little things will forever be the big things.
There are no small victories in our world.
Autism has given me this.
And a deep-rooted understanding of what a gift I sat there holding, first bleacher from the field, tear-stained sunglasses spilling over with pride.
Because someone has taught me that anything is possible.
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think that is the best article thet i have read
This one got me good. Almost a full blown ugly cry right there. I’m so happy for you and her. I love your perspective. I love your gratitude. I love your spirit. That last line? That is what has been on my mind for the last few weeks. Anything is possible! Ah, there is so much I could say, but honestly, I just love it and what all that moment meant to you all.
Darcie-such the spot says
As the mother of a daughter with Down syndrome I can truly tell you that I’ve experienced similar moments. So, too, can I relate to the “heart-exploding” pride when my own daughter shines as well as the utter gratitude in those moments when her peers display character beyond my wildest expectations. Beautiful, beautiful post.
It’s amazing isn’t it? As challenging as some days can be there are SO many moments where I just sit back in awe of the things I get to experience because I have a daughter with special needs. Ashlyn participates in Special Olympics and I think there is a tissue-worthy moment at every game.
Crystal Theresa says
Beautiful. This post had me in tears!
Wow! This is really cool, I love surprises and this one is lovely great…
Amazing. This is truly a gift.
That is beautiful, and you are so blessed.
We’ve had nothing of this kind in my small community, and this shows just how special the girls you know are.
Please let their parents know this is not the usual for this age group…most of the time it’s getting teased and ignored or ostracized.
Really a beautiful, special group of kids..
this is really nice . your gifts are really full of touchy ideas ..
That is so awesome she got to play. I hope you got a lot of pictures.
Galit Breen says
Ohmygoodness this is stunning.
Their hearts, your girl, your love – all of it stunning.
(I have my own tears pooling, but they are the very best kind.)
The little things are indeed the big things. What a wonderful opportunity for Ashlyn and all the other girls and what a proud mommy moment for you.
Beautifully written, Jessica.
Such a proud moment, I will remember it for a very long time.
This is tremendous.
What a wonderful group of girls and what a wonderful moment for Ashlyn.
You write it perfectly… what a proud mom you must be.
Not a Perfect Mom says
I love how sometimes kids get it perfectly right…
How cool for Ashlyn!
Me too, especially when they are teenagers and it is the unexpected.
How great is that!!! I was so there with ya in the bleachers (cheering & crying). Kudos to her teammates!!!
Oh my goodness – I’m SO glad you had this opportunity! And I’m sitting right here crying with you! LOVE these kinds of stories! Thank you!!
It was amazing, I couldn’t cheer loud enough.
By Word of Mouth Musings says
Love when the world turns around and shows us its good side …
Me too, especially when it involves teenagers!
Natalie @MamaTrack says
I am so happy for all of you. This is such a beautiful moment. I loved seeing the pictures on instagram. And the whole story is even better.
Thank you for sharing this with us–it’s so inspiring.
That is a wonderful moment and it really does show how great the other members of the team are… especially for teenage girls.
I hope that she had the most wonderful day ever!
Totally agree, you don’t always see the kindness of teenage girls.
Jennifer "Your Authentic Journey" says
That was one of the most beautiful blog posts that I have read. I could feel the love.
My son was diagnosed with OCD almost 2 years ago. Currently, he’s on a waiting list to be evaluated for Asperger’s. He is the love of my life and I’m so proud of him!
All the best to you and your family!
(Business Partner for Cozy Calm – http://www.CozyCalm.com)
P.S. The founder of Cozy Calm is 46 and was diagnosed with Autism 6 years ago. She’s a mom of 2 kids on the spectrum and entrepreneur. She welcomes guest blog posts…maybe you would be interested? If so, I can get you in contact with her. 🙂
Thanks so much Jennifer, how great to hear what success your business partner has had. i will have to check out her site. Thank you!
Life As Wife says
I can only imagine how Ashlyn felt! I love when people do genuinely nice things for someone!!
Glad you had your soccer mom moment!!
Jessica I am so full of love for your family and for those girls who gave Ashlyn those moments to shine. We can keep spreading messages like this and showing people how simple it is to lift others up and support them.
It is funny because I am finishing up my words on the importance of winning and losing. You know, like, in life, everybody doesn’t always get the lead or the job etc. But there are times when there is NO winning and losing because we are playing for love and we are growing our hearts, not our athletic skills.
I love this post. Can I link to it in mine? It really made me think about how important days like this are and how events like this should be a part of every school and community.
You can absolutely link it! So glad I found your comment, it was in my spam folder!
Alicia D says
Such a beautiful post and a beautiful reminder to us all :). Thank you for sharing this. For sharing your life with us through this incredible blog! 🙂
What a wonderful unexpected gift! Go Ashlyn go!! Thank you for giving us all the reminder that there are gifts every where. Beautiful post. Take care. xo
Corey Feldman says
I have the finest glimpse of understanding of what you mean. In grad school I spent some time subbing in special ed, but my first experience really working with an autistic child was in College. I used to teach him swimming. I had the hardest time getting through to him. But he loved the classes, and I enjoyed teaching them, even though I felt he wasn’t getting much out of it. The I remember this one day. He started doing a stroke perfectly. It somehow clicked. It is one of my proudest teaching moments, certainly proudest swim instructor moments.
I am crying over pancakes….
This is just so beautiful. I am so happy for her and you…and so thankful to hear that there is a generation coming up that will give others chances to shine.
Oh how I love seeing goodness in people, in the world. Thank you for sharing this.
What a huge moment! I would have been a blubbering mess, too. All of those girls should be so proud of themselves. Go Ashlyn!
What an amazing moment. I cried reading this. Way to go Ashlyn! I love that the girls were cheering her on.
One of those moments I won’t forget and felt so honored just to witness.
Beautiful and special and in this day and age when the focus is so much on teen bullying extremely hopeful.
So happy that you got to share the moment with Ashlyn and that the other girls got to share it with her as well.
I felt the same way, in an age when there is so much talk of the negativity between teens it was amazing to see them rally to support her.
Oh my word – I saw your tweets this weekend and couldn’t wait to hear this whole story. I am bawling right now! Go ASHLYN!! xo (Love how all the other girls cheered for her too..sigh…xo)
It was amazing, I was watching, tweeting, taking pics, just overwhelmed by the whole thing. And honestly just felt so lucky to experience the morning the way I did. xo
Amy Sullivan says
Love that your cheeks hurt from smiling, love that you inspire big things with your words on the screen. Thanks, Jessica.
It was truly a moment I won’t forget. I was so happy for her it was hard to stay calm :).
Kristy Harris says
You are a special girl that is why you received unexpected gifts. That experience will make you feel overwhelmed. Thank you for sharing your experience.
You are so sweet, thank you Kristy.
I am so happy she had this moment and that you had it.
Thank you for sharing it here and reminding me of what’s truly important.
Thanks Angela, honestly every time I see the support she receives from these girls I feel a bit better about the world and the kids that are growing up in it.
OMG! How wonderful is this! My heart is swelling with pride for each member of both teams – what an amazing thing they did today for your daughter!!! That is absolutely so touching! 🙂
Thanks Vicki, I was so proud of all of those girls and the character they showed.
Oh my. How beautiful and special. I teared up just reading.
I was a mess, I sat on the bottom bleacher and blubbered until I could get myself together and go back to my seat.