To my son:
When you achieve something my heart swells with pride. Something, anything. Be it something new or something you've done a thousand times over, I beam. My heart aches in so many different ways. It aches with a fierce need to protect you. It aches with sorrow that life is that much more difficult for you. It aches with anger at those that may judge you, may hurt you, may never understand you. It aches with fear that I cannot do enough to help you. Above all else, it aches with pure love. You are different. That's not a bad thing- quite the opposite in fact- you're different in a way that amazes me every day. The way your mind works is unique to you and you teach me a little more about you every day. You've come such a long way in such a short time- so many achievements, all incredible in their own right, collectively astounding. Know this- if there is something that you can't understand, that you can't seem to learn, that doesn't make sense- it isn't you. It's the way you're being taught, being shown. Don't give up. Try new ways, keep trying, keep experimenting- you'll get it. It isn't you. Don't be forced into the way things 'should' be. You've taught me the greatest lesson I could learn- to be myself. That it's ok to be myself because I can feel how much I want for you to be yourself. To be comfortable with who you are. I'm so proud that every time you are held back you find a way through. Every stumble, you carry on. Know that I am there with you, showing you the way, holding your hand and picking you up when you fall. I will help you in every way I can- I will show you how to cope. I will use that ache in my heart to remind me of how strong and determined you are. I will not let my fear hold you back- I will use that fear to push you forward. I will love you, not in spite of, because of all that you are.