Written By Wendy Wesley Price

As Mother’s Day approaches, I can’t help but reflect on my role as mom to my 9-year-old son, Ethan who has autism and is non-verbal.

I saw a speaker once at a conference that likened the journey of raising a child with special needs to planning a trip to Europe. You buy your airline tickets, book your hotel, get your passport, plan all the sites you’ll visit, book dinner reservations at a swanky restaurant, etc. You get on the plane and take the flight, and then the plane lands,  but you’re not in Europe, rather you’re in Chicago … or Cleveland … or Buffalo. You’re not where you thought you were going, but this other place isn’t bad either.  In fact, maybe in some ways, it’s much better.  To see that, however, you have to shift away from what you “expected” to happen and accept and enjoy this new place you’re visiting.  I credit my mother with teaching me to do that.

You see, my mom faced a great deal of challenges in her own life. In the course of her childhood she dealt with the death of her father, various types of abuse, a teenage pregnancy, and more. She went from raising her sisters, right into to raising her own family at the age of 16.  In the process of that, she had to set aside her own hopes and dreams.

Throughout my life, I’ve known my mother as someone that forgives people both quickly and sincerely,  and always picks herself up, dusts herself off and moves forward.  She taught me to do that … to persevere … and, of course, to laugh.  She taught me to never take myself too seriously and to find the everyday humor in life.  It’s no surprise this woman whom I so admire and respect is also my best friend.

On the heels of Mother’s Day, I think about my beautiful boy, who doesn’t use words but has so much to say, and my mom, my teacher, coach, & friend!

Share some laughs with your mom by picking up a ticket by clicking here at “Dena Blizzard:  One Funny Mother” Friday, May 2nd at The Strand Theater in Lakewood.  All moms get a free flower, and $1 from every ticket will be donated to the New Jersey Chapter of Autism Speaks.