Fairly early on after we started putting together our first IEP and trawling the internet for information and resources, I stumbled upon what I think is one of the best essays ever written. I use it a lot to explain to people, especially friends with kids, why my life is so much different from theirs- and yet isn't, really. Especially early on, before the wheat separated from the chaff of my life's accumulation of relationships, these words let people at least try to get a grip on what I was going through, and why I had come out on the other end not bitter, not sad, and not in need of sympathy or pity, but support- like any other parent. Just different.
The essay is called Welcome to Holland. I recommend to anyone who finds that life doesn't always go as planned- but that's OK.
I know there are some folks who really hate this essay, but I find that they usually misinterpret it. This is not an essay about being autistic or having Down Syndrome. It is an essay about finding yourself someplace other than you planned to be, and rolling with that. It is about learning to accept life and your children the way the are, instead of the way you thought they were supposed to be. And folks, there are lots of folks- including parents of autistic, Down Syndrome, or myriad other disabled (and abled) kids who really could use some reminders about acceptance, rolling with what life gives you, and enjoying the ride.