Camryn is one of my mentors. After she was diagnosed with Autism my life shattered, yet she has taught me what it is like to feel pure joy.

Here is a glimpse into our relationship:

  • After I help her get ready every morning, she eats breakfast in my room.
  • Dave brings her breakfast, yet she eats in my room because she doesn’t like Dave in the kitchen with her in the mornings. It is her new thing.
  • She says things like, “My shoes? My bag? I’m waiting!” as I meet her every need and the Dad she “dislikes” escorts her outside and brings the dog, per her request.
  • The minute she gets home from school her routine is exactly the same everyday. She asks me “What’s for dinner?” and “When is dinner?” 100 times before 5:00.
  • She calls me “Big Old” or “Bagel” not Mom.
  • This year she did begin saying “Goodbye…Mom” with a side of a prompted reluctant “I love you” when she leaves in the morning.
  • She doesn’t count anything except my wrinkles as she tells me lovingly that my celebrity lookalike is Shrek.
  • She talks about Caillou and his Mom constantly.
  • She has no filter and it is hysterical.

Tonight, I took this picture of her as she was watching the Backyardigans.

Every time they said Pablo she said Escobar. It was like listening to a tv version of everyone’s favorite pool game, Marco/ Polo. She did NOT watch Narcos, but Dave and I talked about (in very little detail) how insane Pablo Escobar was in front of her and she thought we meant the blue guy from the Backyardigans.

I said to her when I walked into the room, “Camryn, I love being your Mom. Being around you is so much fun. You are hysterical. You are such a gift from God. You are wonderfully and perfectly made and you truly don’t have a mean bone in your body.”

She said, “Can you move your big head? I can’t see my show.”

The Autism and Intellectual Disabilty diagnosis rocked our world. I will never down play the gravity of hearing those words. But….

We choose happiness. We aren’t always happy with the cards we were dealt, but never because of US, because of the questions we have for her future. Heavy questions. Questions we seldom let enter our minds.

We recently received testing results done by the school district and the words spoken because of the numbers they represent could be interpreted as being very sad. It was, for a moment, but we can’t stay in sad, feel sorry land. God didn’t make a mistake.

Being Camryn’s mom gave me a new perspective on everything. If it weren’t for Camryn, I wouldn’t have the relationship that I have with Jesus. I wouldn’t care about the things I care about and I wouldn’t have a full time job of being her personal assistant.

Camryn made our version of life very different than what we planned. Early on we privately struggled with her diagnosis.

Often the people who face the most hardships, come out stronger, have a perspective change and live a happier life.

Camryn faces hardships and struggles daily, but she taught us to choose happy.

It is all about making lemonade moments out of lemons.

Check out my girl from years ago.



  1. Karen Reiter on January 15, 2019 at 8:13 am

    Pablo Escobar made my laugh out loud!

  2. Kristi Hertzog on January 15, 2019 at 11:45 am

    I am here to provide entertainment when you need it, friend.

  3. Terry Bolick on January 16, 2019 at 8:51 pm

    You are an amazing writer and an amazing mom. It is a joy to read your blogs…they make me laugh…and cry…and feel good all over….and you point us to Jesus. To Him be all the Glory!

  4. Kristi Hertzog on January 17, 2019 at 9:24 pm

    Thanks so much! I love that took the time to reach out!!

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