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Twelve years ago today my son JD was born–and my world changed forever.

It all started with a whole lot of nothing. As always, JD did everything on his time and schedule. There was a whole lot of fuss–weeks of early labor, of watching him via ultrasounds and tests to make sure that he was safe. I’d go into full blown labor only for it to stop in the middle, and to be sent home. On the day he was born, he’d done it again–only this time my water had broken, so there was no going home. The doctor went home to rest, and thought she’d come back in a few hours, when the baby had decided it was time. Little did we all know that twenty minutes later he decided it was HIS time, and he came screaming into the world so fast that the doctor didn’t have time to get scrubs on! Little did I know at the time, but this is the pattern of JD”s life–a whole lot of fuss, a little bit of nothing, and then suddenly he decides it is time to do something, and BAM! It is done. From the very beginning, JD has always been in control.

That has been JD”s way ever since. He has conquered the world on his terms. In his time, and in his ways. With him he has brought to me a love so fierce, like none I have ever known. He has always been a force to be reckoned with. JD wasn’t an easy baby, by any means. He could scream like no other–but he also had the most amazing smile and giggle, when happy. As he grew, and we learned of the struggles he would face, that mother’s love deepened and took on a new role–momma warrior. I found myself fighting through not only his sensory defenses, through his Asperger’s and his muscular issues, but fighting like I’ve never fought before against red tape and beauracracy. Waiting lists were never good enough. No was never an acceptable answer. What JD needed, I fought tooth and nail to make sure he got. When he couldn’t communicate very well and became extremely frustrated, I taught him sign language. When he couldn’t stand on his own at his first birthday, I pushed all those who told me it was “normal” and made sure he got the physical therapy he needed. When pediatrician after pediatrician talked to me like I was an idiot, a mother who saw things that weren’t really there, I pushed until I found a doctor who would listen. When he needed physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy–I dropped everything else in my life and drove him twice a day for two years to his therapies, and never took waiting lists at face value. When the insurance company decided to play games and delay or even deny coverage that I knew JD needed, I fought with every single resource and contact I had. If JD needed it, I worked every angle to get it. I never knew I had that in me.

And as I watched him tackle each new “disability” with a strength that I cannot imagine, I found a new hero: JD. A boy who day in and day out faces a world that isn’t always safe and warm to him. Every day he faces fear and weakness that we cannot understand, and yet he pushes right through it. He fought that fear, even when he didn’t want to, and he conquered it. From learning to walk, to learning to talk, to learning to not let anxiety control him. There are still plenty of days when sensory issues, anxiety and OCD get the better of him. Yet as I stand here and look back over the past twelve years, I see how much he has conquered. He has a strength and a courage that I can only stand back and marvel at. I hope that one day I can be as strong and courageous as he is.

Beyond his diagnoses, beyond all of the problems he has faced in life, JD stands and shines to so many around him. He has an infectious smile that is so hard to resist. He is cheeky–a lovable, adorable cheeky monkey who loves to smile and laugh, and to make others laugh along with him. He is smart, one of the smartest people I will know in my lifetime. He is one of the few people I know who is at any given time an expert at trains, maps, meteorology, Star Wars, Pompeii, the Civil War and Super Mario Bros. His thirst for knowledge on his favorite topics is nearly unquenchable. He has a warm, generous heart, and for those he loves and values he will go miles to show them just how much he values them. He has a strong belief in rules and order–as long as they are his rules and order! His friendship is absolute. If you are his friend, you have his affection, his loyalty and his devotion to the very end. He may not understand social rules and norms, but this boy of mine loves and feels and cares in very deep, lasting ways. He has been his little sister’s best friend and champion since the day she was born. He has a faith and relationship with God that most adults would envy. His trust in what God says and has done is simply breathtaking. I am watching him grow up into a strong, bright, faithful young man. While I am nervous for what lies ahead for him in the teen years, I cannot help but be proud of the young man he is becoming.

Life with JD has been an adventure from the very beginning. But from the moment he was born, he has stolen my heart, and I have no desire to ever get it back again. He hugs me or comes and cuddles up with me, and I fall in love all over again. And with a face like this, how could I resist?



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