On February 18, 2007 my life changed in the most amazing way, I became a mommy to a beautiful little boy, a baby that my husband and I planned for carefully. For nine months we imagined who he would look like, whose personality he would have. My husband was already convinced our son would be a football player. We were filled with so much hope and excitement for what our future would be like with our little boy. When Michael Patrick was born we were on cloud nine.
On January 30, 2009, my life changed forever, with one little word that I never dreamed of, wanted, or planned for: Autism. With that one word, every dream, every hope, and every plan we had for our son was shattered. Our discussions of football teams were replaced with discussions of therapists and doctors. Instead of wondering whose personality he would have, we had other questions. Will he ever speak? Will he be able to function independently? Will he be able to play ball with Daddy? Will he get married? Will we need to care for him forever?
For months my husband and I took turns crying. We mourned all of the hopes and dreams we had for our son, and questioned how could this happen to our sweet, innocent boy. The cry was one that I never experienced before; it came from the pit of my stomach and took over my whole body, making my legs weak. I didn’t want to feel any kind of happiness. How can I be happy when this is happening to my son?
Then one day my husband came home from work and found me crying. He held me and said, “Get it all out because this is it. We aren’t crying anymore. Look at him. He’s perfect.” I looked at my son. He was perfect.
Today Mikey is 6. He has a hard time understanding the world around him and is overwhelmed by loud noises and crowds. He can’t use words to express his feelings, needs or wants. But he can show love and receive love, and for that I’m grateful. Mikey is my teacher, my heart. My son is a special soul, and that’s what defines him. His autism makes him 1 in 50, but his smile and spirit make him like no other.
By Christine MacPherson, mom of Mikey, 6