pi-o-neer 1-a person who is among those who first enter or settle a region. 2-to lead the way for a group While I am very thankful for the pioneers, those men and women who left all that was familiar and comfortable to make a new life, this post isn't about them. This is about the second kind, the 'ones who've gone before'. You can be a pioneer in just about anything, really. Today, I'm especially grateful for those 'mommy pioneers' who've gone before me, experienced things that I will have to go through and who are willing to share their expertise. I have one specific pioneer in mind. I have a friend, Meg, who also has a child with Autism. Ever since we moved here, she's been a bit of a mentor to me. Her son is a year older than mine, which gives her the title of pioneer in my book. She's just far enough ahead of me to be able to guide my very misguided footsteps along the mothering path. We were talking the other day about a conversation I'd had with my son. After I told her what happened, she laughed. Then, proceded to explain the conversation to me in a way that left me speechless. How did she know? How did she immediately understand what my son was thinking? Of course, because she's a pioneer. She's been there before, had similar conversations with her son, and so, could help me understand. What would any of us do without others who've paved the way, who know what we're going through, and who are willing to share their knowledge with us? This life is hard, mothers or not. Trials, temptations, disappointments, we all have them. Knowing someone truly understands what we're going through is such a blessing. Whether it's our own mother, a neighbor, a friend or even a stranger. We are all better off because there are those who pioneered the way. Pioneers or angels, really, either title will do. "..and mine angels round about you to bear you up." (D&C 84:88) "