Hello to my family at ECTC,
My heart compels me to share this with you… after leaving ABA/speech therapy this morning we arrived at Darian’s school about 15 minutes early. I parked in the lot and Darian discovered how to open my car’s sunroof. His school friends were walking towards the entrance gate where we parked nearby. Darian quickly jumped on his feet, poked his head out the sunroof and said LOUDLY and CLEARLY:
“Hi! What is your name?” to a little girl standing by.
Unfortunately the girl didn’t answer… so he turned back to me and said “My name is Darian”. I then followed up with a question “oh great Darian, and how old are you?” Darian said with no hesitation and looking right into my eye with a big SMILE “I’m 4 years old Mommmmm”. I paused as I got a little chocked up.
After that and as we were walking to his classroom, he repeated a few times… “Hi! What’s your name?” A few feet away, Darian stalled when he realized it was scooter/bike day. He stopped “Hi’ing” people, waived at me and said “Bye Mom!” as he was running towards the bike path with much excitement…
Most people would say… and so what?! I’m sure as I share this very special moment with you, you will know how astounding it is…
Rapid thoughts went through my head taking me back to the day our lives changed… I remember walking into Pediatric Minds 7 months ago in total panic and distraught.
…and then there was Rosanna with her comforting smile and thoughtful nature.
I met precious JeNae for a tour and I thought “wow this people might just be the miracle I’m looking for”. She was gracious, understanding and for the first time, someone that truly understood my desperation and gave me hope. JeNae saw me eye-to-eye.
Kim, Christy and Lucy fought the insurance battle which I simply was too exhausted to fight. If it wasn’t for their defiance… none of these would have happened. Wow the thought of it gives me chills.
Chris was Darian’s first guiding light – the one who brought Darian’s personality glimpses out. My husband still wittily jokes how Chris taught me how to be a Mom… I will always remember him walking out the “therapy the door” with his stripped jumper suit, red hat and looking like Mario Brother.
Vivian’s everlasting patience and inspirationally abundant knowledge defies Darian to come out of his shell. She taught me that sometimes silence is just as important as a million words… coming from a speech therapist, I found that quite startling. She gives me great advice; she says that I need to take an hour every day to just be a MOM. In the midst of all the activities and the never ending learning/therapies opportunity minutes in the day, I shouldn’t forget that it is just as important to let it loose and have silly playful mommy-child moments. I also remember a conversation we had in one of our first meetings… she shared how she had just gone to one of her kiddo’s graduation party who was the Valedictorian speaker. She shared that when she first started seeing him; he barely spoke and behaved similarly to Darian. That story touched my heart and infused me with over powering hope.
Haydee and Cheryl… hum… you are my cornerstones – you guys fuel me every day with continuing courage as you guide me through the path of discovering my Son. Tantrum after tantrum; transition after transition; you have taught my Son to say “look Mom!” to the point I can’t get him to be quiet sometimes (as I tap my lips). He tells me when he is hungry, cold, happy or tired. I remember sharing with them my fear of Darian getting lost (again as I tap my lips) and him not being able to answer basic questions like “what his name is”. Within a month of working with them, Darian verbalizes his name, age, birthday, Mom’s and Dad’s name. They taught me concepts as “Shared attention”, “Joint attention”, “SSB”, “preservative behaviors”… many people go through their lives not knowing what those mean J
Dr. H, for you I have another experience to share… About 2 months ago, I was walking out the genetics office in UCLA towards the lab to get Darian’s blood drawn for testing. I was in a meltdown state as I was trying to sort out the information I had just been given by the geneticist. I needed to prepare Darian to have a needle poked to his arm (say “tantrum alert!”). Oh boy, my head was spinning. If an Autism diagnosis wasn’t enough, I had just been presented to a list of genetic syndromes that Darian could have had…. but wait, I couldn’t bog myself down with those thoughts for too long… I had to compose myself, be strong for Darian. As I was walking down the hall and reaching for the iPad in my purse, thoughts were rushing through my head: “I need to find an app, a YouTube video or a social story to prepare Darian to get his blood drawn!” “Oh my, what do I do?!” It was that time, I bumped to Dr. H. She looked at me and said with her very soothing and calm voice: “Hi Lucy, how are you?” Call it a coincidence, I say, she is God send. At that moment, she brought me peace and serenity just as she and her staff have done throughout this entire path.
Really, words can’t describe how much I’m appreciative of each and every one of you. I can’t wait to the day Darian will be able to write his own appreciation letter to you… given his passion for letters & words and your continuing support, I know that day isn’t too far away J
Thank YOU for bringing my Son to me.
Most sincerely and with the deepest gratitude,
Darian Archie’s Mom