I’ve envisioned this moment many times over the years. What it would feel like to experience the high school graduation of my youngest child, Kendall, having not had the opportunity to enjoy this same moment with her older brother, Skyler two years earlier.

Would I be overly emotional at the ceremony? Proud and elated for Kendall but at the same time sad knowing that Skyler will never walk across a stage to receive his diploma.

I thought maybe I should hold back a little of my outward expressions of excitement and joy for my daughter’s accomplishments out of fear that not doing so would be hurtful to my son.

In celebrating Kendall’s future college plans and independence, perhaps I’d inadvertently make Skyler feel less than because severe, nonverbal autism gave him a nontraditional path for schooling where there would be no formal conclusion aside from simply aging out.

Well, Kendall’s graduation was last weekend and you want to know what actually happened? Nothing but pure happiness, love and support all around! All of those years spent preparing, filtering and overthinking my ‘thoughtful’ response to rites of passage like this one was wasted time.

Before leaving for Kendall’s ceremony, I overheard my husband tell Skyler where we were going and why. He then explained that everyone’s journey through life is unique and that we are equally proud of his many accomplishments and of what is yet to come for both he & his sister.

Success is not found by only one path.

Skyler smiled and clapped as his sister’s name was announced, beaming with pride. He was calm and patient throughout the entire weekend’s festivities, almost as if he was working extra hard to ensure it remained all about her.

My son is forever my teacher & constantly reminds me to never underestimate his level of understanding of a situation or special moment.

So, for those who are overwhelmed now with worry about future scenarios like this one, please don’t allow those thoughts to consume you. I wasted too much time concerning myself with how I should react to an event years down the road when in reality, things turned out wonderfully with beautiful memories made.

Enjoy & live for TODAY!