Better than my best

For several weeks I noticed that Rhema’s teacher was wearing a baseball cap. The first time I saw it I thought, Oh shoot is it baseball week or something and I missed the memo? But week after week I’d see the caps.

I know Rhema loves her teacher Amy. She’s even learned to say Amy’s name quite well. Once Amy came to the gym with us for Special Olympics, and Rhema was having a rough time. She also had a runny, runny nose. Poor Amy was chasing her around the gym with big wads of snotty tissue in her hands, and she got snot-slimed more than anyone on the planet ever has. Besides me, of course.

Anyway… at school… when Amy would come to get Rhema in the morning her beautiful long hair would be tucked into a baseball cap. The cap just didn’t seem to go with her outfit.

But since she’s so great, I would always forgive her daily fashion faux pas.

Days later one of her teachers happily reported that Rhema’s grabbing (people’s clothes) and hair-pulling seemed to be decreasing.

“Also, we find that when wearing hats and caps on our heads she’s not yanking hair as much.”



So. Now my kid has managed to change the staff dress code.

Dear teachers, thank you so much and I’m sorry so much!

I got in the car and all I could do was laugh. Once upon a time my parenting dreams were filled with dancing gold stars and A plus plusses  in conduct and perfect spelling tests and teacher’s pet. Never could I have imagined… this.

Oh, the autism pendulum that swings us from exhaustion, frustration, embarrassment to overwhelming joy and pride; from emotional drama to sheer comedy. Sometimes, all within one minute. It’s good to laugh, and my offspring give me plenty reason.

Last Friday at pick-up, Amy met me at the door with Rhema. Yep, she had her cap on.

She was excited to show me pictures they’d snapped during the day of Rhema’s writing.

My girl. She and her teachers have worked so hard for so long. And every now and then, there are these perfect moments when it all just comes together like a 2-piece puzzle. In the midst of the grabbing, hair-pulling, humming, brain spiking 31 times a minute, she writes her name, unassisted.

Once there was this.

Rhema, age 4.

And then there was ‘She may never learn to write. Let’s teach her to use a stamp with her name on it instead.’

Now there’s this.

And even this.


Better than my best dreams.

And all I can do is laugh. And cheer. And let the wonder and gratitude burst from my heart.

On the day my daughter was diagnosed with autism I got a gift. I got the gift of seeing God do abundantly more than I could ever think or imagine, over and over again, for the rest of her life. I got the gift of uncommon, huge joy in “ordinary” miracles. I got the gift of cherishing every big-little healing step.


***Several months ago, Amy wrote to me: ‘I am so proud of your Rhema every day. I see her eyes get wide with understanding, I hear her try new words, and watch as she follows a new direction for the first time with the same accuracy as if she had done it a million times before. I can’t believe how much she has grown these last few years and I am so thankful to be a part of her learning and growing.’

Thank you, Amy. Every time I see you in your baseball cap I thank God for you.

19 thoughts on “Better than my best

  1. So very proud of Rhema! What a great job! So thankful for her wonderful teachers.

    And I just love that you see autism as a gift. I’m sure it wasn’t easy getting to that point but your writing just brings such an awesome perspective to this life and our awesome God and being able to see God in everything – even the snot and poop! 🙂

  2. Awesome post. God Bless Amy. I love Rhema’s picture, it’s utterly amazing to see what she’s able to accomplish with her support team and God’s help.

  3. “let’s teach her to use a name stamp”, indeed. Our God is an awesome God! I love “hearing” your thoughts on how her teachers’ caps didn’t match her outfit, not a fashion statement…but a total statement on priorities and love.

  4. Woah! Yes, there are definite gifts. The wonderful people we get to know and the huge joy in ordinary miracles are among the best ones. I love that she added buttons to the outfit on her drawing. 🙂

  5. It is amazing God’s blessings and the things we learn to value over time. She is learning and growing dialy what a miracle a true gift.

  6. Look at those beautiful letters! And that beautiful drawing! I know–I know!–how hard she has worked to get to this place and what a miracle that is! Happy, happy!

  7. Sobbing big, heaving sobs of joy, love and gratitude for the people who love your girl (almost) as much as you do and who aren’t afraid to let their love guide them. Wishing for our very own Amy…

  8. GOOOO RHEMA!!! Yay!!! That’s the best written “Rhema” I’ve ever seen! And a beautiful drawing! Ain’t anybody gonna tell our God what our kids will or won’t do. He’s so much BIGGER than any autism, any brain spikes, anything! 🙂

  9. Pingback: The gift of autism? « Autism In a Word

  10. Wow, two big themes here. Rhema writing her name. That’s amazing. And the way others are so willing to do what’s needed. That’s amazing too. Thanks for sharing that.

  11. LOVE!!!!!!!!! this 🙂 So AWESOME! GREAT Job Rhema! That is HARD work to write your name! Also props to those teachers. They deserve a bigger mansion in heaven for their work here on earth 🙂

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