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You indulged my special interests. You’d patiently reenact the Magic School Bus scripts I’d memorized while driving in the car. You spent hours embroidering a long piece of cloth so I could dress in authentic ancient Egyptian fashion, pretending to live in the world of old gods and goddesses that fascinated me. When we went to museums you let me take my time, exploring the exhibits and reading all about them. When it was apparent that my love for animals would not be short-lived, you gave me every opportunity to work with them. Dogs, cats, horses, chickens, I loved and learned about creatures of all kinds. Despite neither of you having much of an interest in cosmetics, you indulged my obsession. You always made sure I had quality makeup and skincare before I could afford to purchase it on my own. Instead of shunning my interest in politics, you allowed our home to become an agora of sorts. We discussed controversial topics at the dinner table and you allowed me to build my own views.
When I had to wake up every day and face a world that was so loud, so bright, so overwhelmingly painful, you never made me face it alone. Before I could advocate for myself you fought for me. Counseling sessions. IEP meetings. You tirelessly worked to make the world a better place for a daughter who you knew was struggling greatly. My brain ran on a different processing system. One you had learned to work with, and when others did not know how to work with my brain you taught them. Like a feverish architect you ran around my world, building the support systems I needed to thrive. Then, as I got older, you began to hand me your tools so I could advocate for myself. When self-advocacy is a burden I cannot carry alone you step beside me and take off some of the weight while allowing me to struggle and learn.
Sometimes everything is not enough. Sometimes despite all of your support and efforts I crumble. Whenever this happens, you have never been more than a call away. When I am breaking down because I have failed at a basic human interaction, misread a social cue, or acted inappropriately you help me leave behind the shame and move forward to do better next time.
Every time the sensory world becomes a storm and is too much. When sound stings like needles and light rips through my eyes. When an unexpected touch leaves me feeling so hurt that it feels like I would need to peel my skin off to feel okay again… you listen. And then instead of trying to fix a pain that cannot be fixed, you let me know that I am loved. That no matter what happens, what I do, or how much I struggle I am always your daughter and that to you, I am irreplaceable. And for that I am very, very lucky.