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"What's the smallest thing that brought you joy this week?"

I am a member of Amanda Millemon's fabulous FaceBook group "Self Love for Special Needs Moms". She posted this question to us; and it was easy to answer, "The feral cat named Grandma who came to me wanting affection; so I joyfully petted her." This was a very small moment but one that lingered in my mind.

Grandma is now fully grown. Her personality is sweet, playful, feisty, and confident. She is a survivor in the harshest of weather, and yet extraordinarily kind to her siblings and mother. I have watched her step back and allow the others to eat so everyone would have their turn. I have also witnessed her ability to stand up to a bully tomcat who wanted his way with her, or her family's food. She is not afraid to roar like a lion to defend herself or her clan.

She is feral, and yet she trusts me. She eagerly comes running to sit with me while I lounge in a chair in the sun, or bathe in my hot-tub during a winter day or night. She comes for affection for I communicate my warmth to her with my thoughts. Sometimes I even imagine petting her, and then she comes to get touched. This always surprises me, and makes me smile.

Grandma is so human-like. Her feelings and strengths are so obvious to me. And I have learned a lot from her:

1. There will always be unforeseen challenges. Think intuitively and act quickly.

2. Trust your instincts.

3. Be generous and share; you have enough.

4. Family is your tribe....the ones you cuddle with in the darkest and coldest of storms.

5. Be fierce when you have to. Don't let anyone push you or your loved one around.

6. Ask for a hug or a rub when you need or just want one.

7. You are stronger than you realize.

8. Leave your comfort zone by taking a risk, and make a new friend.

The greatest thing I learned from Grandma is "Love" And it really does come in the smallest of ways.

Debra Taubenslag, Author

No Stone Unturned: How My Special Needs Child and I Transformed Against All Odds


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