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12 Years of Wisdom

Ben turns 12 years old today. Our lives changed forever the day he was born. Ryan and I became parents to a wild redhead with more energy and determination than an entire village.

Like most people who become parents, we knew we would instill in our child the valuable lessons needed for life. We had no idea that Ben would be the one to teach us.

Here are Ben's words of wisdom:

Manners, Please
Every parent has to fight for their child at some point. Be thoughtful, thankful and thorough when advocating for your child. Just this morning, a friend started a Facebook post that used words that were derogatory toward people with special needs. After a moment's thought, I spoke to the person privately. This person had no idea they were being offensive and removed the post immediately. Without lessons learned through Ben, I would have approached the situation with anger, accusations and assumptions.

Friends Give Hugs
Often Ben reaches out to strangers to touch their hand. He hugs people he cares about and who care about him. He chooses wisely. My base of friends has changed over the past decade as I found people who understood our struggles and were willing to be supportive.

Try, Try and Try Again
Ben was three when he learned to sit up on his own. I remember the day in November when he accomplished this amazing feat. He repeated it dozens of times that day. Ben has the will and determination to practice skills everyday for hours. With a role model like that, how can I ever give-up?

Ignore the Boring Stuff
Watching a movie you don't like? Offered a food you don't care for? In a place you don't want to be? Then find a movie you like, spit out the food or look for the exit. Life is short - don't sit through the stuff that may not interest you.

Bite in an Emergency
There are times when things are tough or the situation is dire, and emergency communication is needed. Ben bites if he has no other way to tell someone "No", and it means he has met his absolute limit. When I have reached my breaking point, I understand that sometimes biting is the only way to make someone understand.

Get Excited
Wave your arms and legs and laugh uncontrollably when happy. There are so many things in life to celebrate - little and big. Seek them out.

Give the "Look of Love"
The phrase "Look of Love" was coined years ago when Ben started to stare intently at Logan. Intense love comes with the stare. If we are lucky, Ben may choose Ryan, Sean or me to give the "Look of Love". It fills your heart with everything you need.


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