Finding inspiration in the small things in life


“To me, the worst fashion faux pas is to look in the mirror and not see yourself” Iris Appel


Back in 2009, we received some difficult news about my daughter.  You see, we were told that she is autistic and will never be a cuddly, affectionate child.  Hearing this news broke my heart.  She is my oldest and we have been through a lot already in her short amount of time on earth.  Why would this happen to such an innocent child and how am I to be her mother now.

Life Give You Lemons…….

When Maddalyn was born in January 2003, she was born 8 weeks early.  She came into this world barely weighing 4 pounds.  I was so afraid and scared, thinking I would break her.  I wanted to hold her as much as possible but I was told with having a heart condition, she needed not to be over stimulated. You see, Maddie was born with 4 holes in her heart and an aortic stenosis, meaning her aortic valve didn’t work correctly.  At 5 months of age, Maddie decided to give me the scare of a lifetime and after a bath, she turned blue. Right after that, she was taken from my arms and was in surgery for 5 hours while they worked on her little heart.  Stopping it and starting it many times.

I was a nervous wreck.  I didn’t know what to do with her after the surgery.  Holding her, I felt like I never wanted to let go. I never wanted her to become too big for my arms and I never outgrow my kisses.  I knew one day she would become a teenager but that was years and years away. I had plenty of time to hold her and she gives me love back.

Maddie had a few more surgeries after the heart surgery, two eye surgeries, one more heart surgery, and an umbilical hernia surgery.  Maddie far to use to be in the hospital. Far more than any child should.  But she always had a smile on her face and was the strongest child I have ever met.

More Bad News.

When Maddie was at the age of 4 and 5,  we started to notice that loud noises bothered her.  She would rock for hours at a time, and she had a hard time “imagination” play.  She would play with some toys but would rather rock instead.  We took her to her pediatrician and it was suggested that Maddie may be slightly autistic and she needed to be further evaluated.

We took her to the local Children’s hospital for a load of tests.  This poor child went through every test that is out there and she handled it like a trooper, again.  I remember one of the doctors performing a social test on Maddie to see how she reacted to people.  She told us that we had nothing to worry about.  Maddie wasn’t autistic because she could look adults in the eye when speaking to them. I remembered thinking “if this is the one reason she isn’t autistic, I should be happy” but there was still a sick feeling in my stomach.  A mother always knows.

After we got the test results from the Children’s Hospital, I still felt like we missed something.  Back to the pediatrician we went and she found a psychologist that would evaluate her and see what his opinion was. Immediately he told us that Maddie was on the autism spectrum and she is PDD-NOS or pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified. Otherwise, she has traits from many areas of the autism spectrum but doesn’t fit into just one.

And There Was the Answer!

After receiving this news, I thought for sure that I would feel better and we could all go on with our lives.  Little did I know that our perception of “our life” would never be the same again.  Little did I know that I had to look at the small things in life and find my inspiration.  Little did I know that I was blessed with an amazing child that has shown me how to do that.

At first telling people, it was harder than I thought.  The more I spoke it out loud, the more real it was.  Here was this amazing, beautiful and precious child that I never thought would bring me so much joy and inspiration. But I wanted her to be “normal” and not have to worry about the many things that I have to every day.  That was me wanted to take the easy way out of it.  But I wasn’t handed lemonade.  I had to make it.

Here we are many years later, and she still amazes me. She may not understand make-believe or is the most affectionate child but she is more than I could every hope for.  Every night, I get a hug and a kiss from her before she goes to bed.  I get hugs when I am having a bad day, and she knows when that is without me saying anything  She is can put a smile on anyone’s face and is the most beautiful child I have ever seen. I couldn’t have asked for a perfect child.

Looking at her the last time before my surgery, she looked at me and said “mom, you got this”.  And she was right. Maddie is my daily inspiration that when I’m not feeling it, she can boost my spirits in no time. She looks at the world with such innocence that I wish most of us could be like that.  She looks at most people and sees the good in them. And she loves me unconditionally.  What more can a mom ask for?

Find your inspiration in someone like Maddie.  Find that person that can show you what it’s like to live a life of happiness and pure fun. Because life is too short not to have Maddie with us!


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