Wednesday, March 1, 2017

He Taught Me Patience

It's weird.

When I found out I was pregnant, I thought of that scene in Beaches, where CC is talking to Victoria, her best friend's daughter. Her best friend, you see, has died and has left CC to raise her daughter.

CC says:

"...I don't know what kind of mother I'd make. You wouldn't believe the things that go through my head sometimes. And I'm very selfish too.."


I didn't know if I could do it. I was 19 and in college. I was an only child and didn't know what it was like to be around a baby. I never babysat because quite frankly, children bugged me.

But things worked out, as they often do. When Tommy was born, I loved him. I knew I'd do anything for him.




I know he taught me patience. He didn't talk until he was three, but now I'm grateful for it. When the words started to form, I celebrated each and every one. Had he spoken at one like a typical kid, would I have celebrated so much? Probably not. I knew Tommy struggled as his lips would twist. His brows would furrow, and I'd go, "It's okay, Tommy. Take your time. You can do it," and he'd smile and garble out a new word.





Later I'd find out he had autism, and in the beginning I blamed myself. I knew my diet hadn't been the greatest while I was pregnant. I was still in college so I ate a lot of fast food. I swallowed down caffeinated beverages without a thought. I remember after I found out he had autism I thought, "I did this. I did this to him." I'm not terribly religious, but I remember looking up and making a deal with whomever is up there. "Please. Please give me the autism. I can take it. Don't do this to my boy."




It took me a long time to realize that having autism wasn't a setback. It was something my son was born with. It was something that taught him--and me--patience. It was something that allowed us to celebrate each and every achievement. While some parents wouldn't think twice about their kid shoving macaroni and cheese into their mouth, it was a dance party when my son finally could grasp the noodle between his thumb and forefinger. He struggled with fine motor skills, you see, so when he finally took hold of that noodle, it meant something.



Today my son is 15. Life doesn't always come easy for him. But he won't ever give up. He even made a YouTube video about not giving up.




I'd like to think that maybe he remembers me cheering him on when he was tiny.


"Think about what you want to say, Tommy. I'll wait. I'll always be here for you."





He knows I'll always be in his corner, cheering him on, no matter how old he gets.




Happy Birthday, Tommy. Thank you for choosing me as your Mom.

91 comments:

  1. He is pretty amazing! :) Happy Birthday, Tommy!

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  2. Awww, Happy Birthday Tommy! He sounds like a great kid.

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  3. Happy Birthday Tommy! what a blessing to have such a loving mother. He sounds like an outstanding young man!

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  4. Happy Birthday Tommy! You're raising the perfect young man. I'm sure he's beyond happy to have you as a mom as well.

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  5. Whenever we face a struggle, we are pushed to a limit that forces us to learn from and see the light within any circumstances. You were positioned as Tommy's mother for a reason. Happy birthday to your son!

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  6. I agree with you that autism is nit a setback. Sometimes it can be difficult, but he is your son. So that alone makes up for everything. He is amazing by the way!

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  7. Aww this is beautiful! Good on both of you for being so strong. He's such a cutie. "_

    Christie's Take on Life. x

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  8. You made me well up. And he made me laugh! Happy birthday Tommy!! Lots of love to all your beautiful family..

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  9. He's adorably cute. Ohh those cheeks! Happy Birthday Tommy!

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  10. I hope your son celebrates well. :)
    He seems to be doing great, the girls will knock on your door soon, he is already handsome.

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  11. Awww, I love this post - and your tribute to the positive side of what Autism has brought into your life through its effects on your son. I hope his birthday is an amazing one - and Happy Momiversary to you!

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  12. I love this story! Things always seem like the end of the world until we figure out that we are stronger than we know!

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  13. Happy Birthday!!!!! This post was so amazing. And I love/d the movie Beaches!

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  14. Aw, this made me tear up. I often think that I am nowhere near ready to have a child of my own. But, I guess when it happens, you're ready. That mama instinct is just in us, I suppose!

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  15. Happy birthday Tommy, what a brilliant post!

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  16. Your mother/son connection is something I aspire to with Des. You and Echo are blog twins today! Also, Happy BIRTHday to you, and Happy Birthday to Tommy. We're all here waiting to see what you'll say!

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  17. What a sweet post. My daughter has taught me patience as well. We think we are teaching them, but really we learn so much from our children

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  18. This brought tears to my eyes! I will have to show my son his YouTube video for encouragement, as he sometimes get down on himself. You are a great role model for your son.

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  19. This is a beautiful blog post! Your son is a blessing in your life, just as you are to him :)

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  20. Happy Birthday, Tommy. You've got a great mom!

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  21. Aww, I can relate so much to this! Happy birthday to him!

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  22. First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TOMMY!

    This was a beautifully written post--on that had me bawling from the start.

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  23. 15! That is a big year! Great heartfelt, true post. He looks like he is going to be great and you have done a great job thus far. Congrats to you both! <3

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  24. Happy birthday! your pictures are adorable!

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  25. My oldest son is 22 and he had developmental delays. He has taught me patience too.

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  26. Happy birthday to Tommy. He's a lucky boy to have such a loving Mum. Enjoy the celebrations. You both deserve them. 🎂🎂

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  27. Happy Birthday Tommy. Like you said things happen for a reason and his autism is definitely not a setback and it helped you discover your own identity x

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  28. This is absolutely beautiful. I am so grateful that you both have each other. Happy birthday Tommy.

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  29. This is a beautiful story. I am still learning patience with my two little bubs. I am a anxious sort of person and patience is something I am really working hard on. For my children and myself.

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  30. I am so glad that he has learned to never to give up! What a beautiful boy!

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  31. wow, sounds a lot like my story, pregnant at 19 dropped out of my first semester of college (i was too sick), single mom and only child. I did love babies though and couldn't wait to have one. My guy will be 18 in may and he has Autism, Bipolar, Adhd, and all kinds of other dx. It is totally amazing how much strength you have when it comes to your child. If it wasn't for him I would not be the mom I am now and wouldn't have been able to get more help for his younger brother who also has Autism, Bipolar, Adhd and a very bad cognitive learning disorder. Happy Birthday!!!

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  32. Happy birthday, Tommy!! You totally rock!!

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  33. Thanking him for choosing you to be her mother was so sweet. He was a wonderful kid and I know he will always be there for you and Natalie no matter what. Happy Birthday Tommy! Thank you for that video of inspiration to everyone, always be a good boy to mom, keep up the good work.

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  34. Thank you for sharing this with us. Your son Tommy is awesome. Love his baby pictures. :)

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  35. Happy Birthday Tommy! Awesome video, loved it!!

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  36. He's amazing and so are you. Kids know how to bring out the best in us.

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  37. You are a great mom and I'm sure he feels the same way. He was a cute little boy!

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  38. Your son sounds just as lucky to have you as his mom as you are to have him as your son. It's funny how even though we may think we're not ready for motherhood, the minute we hold our kids for the first time it's like we can't imagine a life without them.

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  39. Awwww! Happy birthday to Tommy! None of us know what kind of mom we will be, but isn't motherhood amazing? He's beautiful and perfect just how he is.

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  40. This is so sweet! I can relate to what you've been through. I also thought I was not prepared to be a mom, but once I held that baby in my arms, everything else came naturally. Wishing your son Tommy the happiest of birthdays. He is so lucky to have you as his mom.

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  41. Very cool post. I can't tell you how many things my daughter has taught me. Patience is definitely one of those lessons.

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  42. Happy Birthday, Tommy! Good luck with your Youtube chanel!

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  43. Your journey I know was never been that easy. But I love how you show your love to your son. Tommy is so lucky to have you. Well I guess both of you are lucky to have each other. Be an inspiration to other, good luck on your channel Tommy! -Anosa

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  44. I like his journey, he also handsome! Happy Birthday to him!

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  45. I love this so much. I have a special needs child as well and have come up with 100,000 ways that her disease could be my fault. I cried when I found out I was pregnant with her, I was done and had two kids already. I lost two grandfathers during my pregnancy, maybe it was my grief. Logically I know none of this is true, but it's so easy to blame yourself. Thank you for this post, it inspires me.

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  46. Such a beautiful article! Thanks for sharing!

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  47. "But you should give up on drugs." You go, Tommy!

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  48. Happy Birthday to Tommy! What a sweet boy you have raised. He is lucky yo have you as his mom :)

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  49. Happy Birthday Tommy! So sweet and honest that you can share this inside glimpse into autism. I've really been around autism so I would have no idea. Thanks for sharing!

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  50. He was such a beautiful baby and has grown into such a handsome young man. I hope that Tommy had an amazing birthday!

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  51. Tommy is lucky to have such a patient mom. My niece had two cleft babies and she blamed herself at first even though she couldn't have known or done anything differently. I know it's not the same as autism but having a child born that is different is still a 1000x's better than not having one at all. Richard B

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  52. You are an amazing MOM!!! Thank you for letting us be a "part" of your lives one post at a time! Happy B-Day Tommy!

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  53. Happy Birthday Tommy! You are amazing and I love your energy! You are right, we should never give up what we are doing especially if we love what we are doing. You have an incredible mom who knows how to love well. Always be happy Tommy you are a gift to the world! Thanks for sharing him with all of us!

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  54. I admire you for your unconditional love to your son. I know it's not easy to went through all that but you made it. You are amazing! Happy birthday Tommy :)

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  55. When you do have children you for sure learn to stay calm. Thanks for sharing your beautiful article.

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  56. This is such a sweet post! I admire your strength and your love for him, Amber. Happy Birthday Tommy!

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  57. ❤ Happy birthday! I know what you mean about milestones. I remember my eldest ,E, finally speaking. She didn't speak conversationally until she was 4. Before that it was only a few words. I was so thankful when it finally clicked for her. It's so difficult when our children struggle. Wonderful that he's come so far. - Elysia

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  58. Happy Birthday to him!! What a special connection you guys have :)

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  59. Happy Birthday Tommy! Amazing post and beautiful pics. I hope that Tommy had an amazing birthday!

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  60. Happy Birthday Tommy! You are an excellent mother. Remember that always. I would love to hug you. I am not a mother yet but I can relate to what you said. We all have strength in us and we should not underestimate what we can do for others.

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  61. Everyday. Children are good at doing this!

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  62. awww happy birthday Tommy! It's amazing how much we learn from our kids when we are trying to teach them!

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  63. Children are as much teachers as they are students...maybe more so. Happy birthday to you dear one!

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  64. Awww happy birthday to Tammy. My niece taught me a lot about paitence so i know what you are say. xx

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  65. I love this piece so much! I think Aven has helped me too! I love watching our boys grow and we are so lucky to have them.

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  66. What a heart warming birthday greeting! Happy Birthday Tommy!

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  67. He is a blessing. Happy Birthday, Tommy!

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  68. So cute! I hope he had a wonderful birthday!

    | diaryofasouthernmillennial.com

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  69. This made me tear up. There are plenty of new things that we discover about ourselves the moment our child enters the world. You should be proud of the mother that you have become. Happy Birthday, Tommy!

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  70. This is so heartfelt. He sure is just as lucky to have you as his momma! I love that you both guided each other through the whole parenting thing. Happy Birthday to your awesome son!

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  71. Love his energy, he is so adorable :) Happy birthday!

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  72. he is toooo cute. happy birthday...so much amazing energy

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  73. Wow! I can't imagine what was going through your head when you found out your were pregnant! Happy birthday dude!

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  74. Happy Birthday to your sweet son. He's an amazing young man!

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  75. Happy Birthday to Tommy. This is such a sweet story. He is so cute!!

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  76. This is so amazing. His video is so inspirational.

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  77. My story with my son is so similar to your own in so many ways (I thought maybe I did it during pg, too!). I enjoyed reading your story. My son is now 13. We struggle with schoolwork and social cues, but he has come such a long way since he was 3 and was almost nonverbal and couldnt go in public without having a meltdown, and would barely eat because of food aversions. You are so right about celebrating things more. We were so excited when our son finally started eating foods mixed together, which was a huge step for him (milk/cereal, spaghetti/sauce, soups, etc.). Best wishes to you and your family. :)

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    1. Same to you! My son has never liked milk, but he can handle spaghetti and sauce. And he can take certain soups without chunks. The chunks freak him out.

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  78. Happy birthday, Tommy! I am an only child as well and, even at 30, I'm scared to be around babies. Glad to hear that you were able to do it!

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  79. This is a really beautiful post. I don't know if I will ever have kids, and I have alot of the same doubts about myself. But this is an amazing post, and I am sure that he appreciates you always being there for him. Happy birthday!

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  80. One of my nephews has autism and whilst it's not always easy for him, he has many skills that we don't.

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  81. Happy Birthday Tommy! I hope you had a wonderful day and I wanted to let you know you have a pretty cool mom; I really enjoy learning about your amazing family

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  82. How time flies so fast and now he's 15! Belated happy birthday and enjoy being you!

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  83. You are a great Mum. I can sense it through your writing and the happiness within your kids' faces. I love the movie Beaches too :)

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  84. You're such a wonderful mother, Tommy was truely picked out for you. I always look forward to reading about him.

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  85. Awww this is adorable! Happy Birthday to him!

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  86. I almost teared up! Really loved reading about yours and Tommy's story.

    "...having autism wasn't a setback. It was something my son was born with." - I'm really glad you stopped blaming yourself. Yes, Autism just IS. It is no one's fault that Tommy was born with it.

    After being in mental health recovery, I've grown a compassion toward invisible illnesses like Autism. It's really great that you are openly blogging about it :) More people need to know what it is or is not about.

    First time I'm watching Tommy's videos. I can't really understand him when he goes too fast, but his enthusiasm really shines through :) I look forward to reading more about him.

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  87. Happy Birthday Tommy! I can feel that he is a nice boy. Both of you are very lucky to have each other. May Tommy reach all his dreams in life.

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  88. I remember reading you when Tommy was a little baby. I thought of you the other day and decided to see if you were still blogging. I am so happy you are. Happy Belated Birthday Tommy!

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