At church we are doing a sermon series on #holyhashtag. The first in the series is #grateful. Our pastor asked us to write down the things we are grateful for – on Facebook, twitter, in a journal or just on a piece of paper. This has become a type of journal for me, so I thought I’d write it here. I am fortunate enough to have not had many difficult things happen in my life. Whether by design, choices, or both, I have had a pretty easy life. School has come easy for me. I have always had great friends in my life. A great partner whose family I love. I haven’t had anyone close to me pass away. Until Carter was diagnosed. I feel like Carter’s disability helped me figured out what really matters in life – people. So what I am grateful for centers around the people I have been blessed with in my life.

Friends. I don’t know what I would do without them. Besides family, leaving my friends was the saddest thing about moving to Ohio. I am so thankful for the people God has placed in my life. I have grown because of their friendship. I always looked forward to girls night with each of my sets of friends. It was a time to complain, laugh, and catch up. I have been blessed with my best friend, Mayra. We have been friends for over 15 years and she is the one I can tell anything to. We can get together after months and fall right back into it. Life has taken us different directions, but I know that no matter what, she will always be there for me.

Family. I am always saddened to read stories from other parents who talk about their extended family not being understanding or welcoming with their special needs child. I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult that must be. Which makes me all the more thankful for mine and my husband’s family. I have never felt out of place. They will always include Carter. And not just include – love. They love on my little boy and make it easy for my husband and I to just relax and not feel like we need to police what he’s doing. My mother especially has been an amazing help. She helped while we were in Oklahoma, taking Carter to and from school and therapies while my husband and I were at work. She is also the only reason we feel comfortable about going out of town without our son. She is helping us in Ohio by staying with us during Carter’s school breaks so we don’t have to take off work.

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