The burn / The call to action

There are very few things in life I was definitely CERTAIN that I wanted to do or that I BURNED to do. I knew that I wanted to be a mother and I knew that I wanted to make a difference in the world, but I wasn’t sure how. After all, I am not gifted at anything in particular… I am not an amazing artist or musician or writer. I am ok at moving goods from point A to point B or getting a good rate on freight, but woo hoo! Hey, not everyone has to be renown for having that ‘burn’ for something. So I had my daughter then my son and I thought that was my calling; being the best working mom that I could be. I was ok with that. Then my son Elias threw me a curve ball. Little by little after he was born I started realizing that something was not quite right.

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I couldn’t really put my finger on it, but I could tell that he was different. Everything took him way longer to do; from sitting up to eating solid foods to just talking. Starting at 8 months old there were endless neurologist appointments, developmental pediatrician appointments, early intervention, speech therapist and occupational appointments (just to name a few). Everything from possible autism, MR, CP, etc etc was thrown at my little guy. What did I do for 3 years? I cried, ripped my hair out, lost 50 pounds and almost lost my job. I wondered why me? Why my little boy? I didn’t understand where to begin or how to fight to get my son the help that he needed. I felt like a failure. Then one day I met Portia at the feeding clinic. Elias was still eating jarred baby food and he was almost 4 years old.

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I was a hair away from getting divorced and it was a miracle that I hadn’t gotten fired for all the work I had to miss due to Elias’s appointments. Portia was a single mom to 3 sons; two of which had autism. She could sit there and cry like I had been doing for years, but she wasn’t! She amazed me every morning how she would whirl into the feeding clinic perfectly dressed, looking like a model out of Ebony, full of laughter and smiles and with something else that is imperative, hope. She sat down with me one day and took out her little black book full of precious resources and told me who to contact to help my son. She gave me advice and she shook me awake. Portia made me realize that just because my son was different didn’t mean that I shouldn’t plan for a great, productive future for him.

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Most importantly she lit the first spark of passion in making me want to do everything I possibly could to advocate for my son. Since then I have taken every course imaginable on how to advocate for not just my child, but all children with special needs. My school district learned that the bawling parent they had in front of them for Elias’s first IEP meeting was no more. There would be no more pushing around Eli and Jen M. My little boy has taken me down paths that I would have never ventured through before. I would have never met someone like Portia or even cared enough to learn about children with special needs like I do now. Ok so I am not an artist or chef or writer. I do however, ‘burn’ to help others. I want to empower, educate and help other parents the same way that Portia helped me. Elias is apraxic, non-verbal with global delays, but I want to help children and their families no matter what the disability.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. cleopitty
    Jan 02, 2012 @ 00:20:32

    Without any doubts, refreshing, familiar, a “must” read!

    Reply

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