The month of May includes a couple of very special holidays that my family looks forward to celebrating: Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. Mother’s Day is a holiday where you would expect to be pampered, spoiled, and celebrated — however, for a military wife, that isn’t always possible.
When you are in the military, Mother’s Day is one of those days that you cherish any type of recognition because you aren’t sure what the next year will bring. Add a child with special needs into the picture and you will feel even more honored and celebrated when you husband is home for Mother’s Day, and you can have some time to just relax and be your own individual for a while. I can’t even tell you how many Mother’s Days, (out of the eight that I have been a mother) that my husband hasn’t been home to help me celebrate. In fact, last year he was away and I did the unthinkable for a mother with a child with autism and a two-year-old — I took the boys to Disney World myself! Yes, we had some good moments, and yes, we had some bad moments, and yes, we left early (right in the middle of lunch to be exact) but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. I got to spend quality time with my children in the most magical place, and watch them enjoy moments that they will cherish forever. If you are home alone with the kids next year on Mother’s Day, make sure to do something, anything, even if only for a short time, and capture some memories.
Getting back to military life, military wives are a special species; they stand beside their husband through deployments, duty station changes, temporary duty assignments, promotions, recognitions, and endless hours working overtime at the office. A military wife isn’t given a guidebook when they marry into the service, but rather a warm welcome from fellow spouses and most likely a schedule of events that she is encouraged to attend. I would like to extend a great big “thank you” to all the military wives out there, the ones who were able to celebrate this past Mother’s Day with their entire families, and especially those who were alone with the children while their husband is gone, defending our freedom.
Memorial Day is a day that is celebrated on the last Monday of May each year. It is a day that we take time to remember all of the United States Service Members who have given their lives while serving this great nation. The graves of military members are decorated with flowers and flags, and people travel near and far to pay their respects to those who have given all. Memorial Day brings about foot races, auto races, parades, golf tournaments, and family BBQs. Although Memorial Day is a day in which we honor those who have passed, it also helps us to celebrate the families who have been left behind.
The month of May is very special to me — my youngest son was born in May, I was born in May, and now I am celebrated each May on Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day is very special to me, not only because I am a mother, but because it is a day that reminds me of everything that I have done, and everything that I am willing to do for my child with autism. This year Jaxon worked so hard to give me an extra special Mother’s Day, and it brought tears to my eyes to realize how thankful he is that I am his mother.
With Memorial Day just around the corner, I feel like this will be the year that we are able to explain the significance of this day to Jaxon, and he will finally understand what his daddy does every day, and why his job is so important. I feel like Jaxon will now be able to look at all the men and women wearing a uniform with respect and honor, and have a true understanding of what respect and honor mean, a few years ago, before his biomedical treatment, this wouldn’t have been possible. Memorial Day will move forward in our family with a meaning behind it, a day that is important for a reason, not just a day to get together with daddy’s friends and have “yummy BBQ.”
A big thank you to each and every military family out there, and a big shout out to those of you who are raising a child with autism! I hope you are able to grill up some hamburgers and hot dogs and point out those special men and women in uniform to your special needs children, and tell them just how much they do for our country.
My name is Dr. Jill Tschikof, I am the mother of two, and a military spouse. We have had struggles and successes raising a child with autism while serving in the military and I hope that my future stories will act as a form of guidance for others navigating this same path. You can find my personal blog at www.autismdeal.com. I hope that you will email me if you have any questions.