In my opinion, a child should never feel as if they need to earn a mother’s love. All mothers have the power to influence the next generation. I know this to be a fact. My mother had little to give material-wise, but she made up for it with love and guidance. I didn’t need to earn her love and she definitely instilled good values in her children. She taught us to approach everyone and everything at face value without bias. Recently we posted a search for subjects and models for 573 Magazine holiday edition. We recieved 1637 emails in response. Holy cow, I had no idea how popular this magazine has become. I read each and every response. Some were funny. Some were sad. Some were inspiring. All were interesting. I wish I could do a story on each and every one. When I read Malinda and Justin’s story, I knew our readers would love learning more about them. Meet Malinda and Justin Stevens. Justin is 14 years old and is in the 8th grade at MarquandZion School District. Justin is just your regular teenage boy who happens to have Autism. Justin was diagnosed at the age of 4, and with the proper interventions and working with amazing therapists and also the teachers at his school, he has accomplished much. Justin has many friends and they are very accepting of him, although his autism prevents him from having very good social skills. Justin lacks good verbal communication but his personality alone is easy to fall in love with. Justin always has a smile on his face and loves to kiss the people he is close to on the cheek. Autism is the greatest lesson in discovering how strong I am as a woman, and a mother. Justin shows that brilliant minds think differently and we need to open up our eyes a nd see what they see to truly understand that. Justin appreciates the little things in life and as his mother I think it is admirable. Justin has worked so hard to get where he is, developmentally. Through hours of intensive therapy interventions, multiple doctor appointments and therapy, the frustration and tears, and the countless meltdowns, he has come out on top. I never thought my son would be my hero and the person I admire most in my life. After all this time I have come to realize how lucky I am that he is my son, every achievement is another miracle in my life. My son is the most loving child I have ever met. When I feel down, he senses it and hugs me, he helps me more than I ever thought possible. I no longer doubt my ability to be his mother because he clearly doesn’t doubt it. Justin shows people every day that I am doing the best I can and that no matter what, I am his favorite person, as he is mine.