|Me and the two beautiful boys who are my inspiration...|
Anyway, this was my speech. Sort of. I choked my way through it.
Three years ago, right about this time--in the middle of winter--was when Derek started going downhill. I watched my happy baby slowly disappear into his own world; a world where he had no interest in anyone and nobody could reach him. I couldn't get my own son to make eye contact, or even to acknowledge that I was THERE. My heart shattered. I made a vow that I would get my son back, no matter what it cost. I recently read a quote by another mom with an autistic son. She said, 'He is not in his "own world." I'm here too.' This quote is perfect. How did I get my son back? I joined him in his world. Some days are so difficult I feel like I have gone through the Looking Glass on Alice in Wonderland. I see the world through my son's eyes and everything has gone topsy-turvy. But I wouldn't change a thing.
The bottom line is, I did this project for a little brown-eyed boy with a huge heart. I wanted to tell him in the only way that I know how, that I am not ashamed of his "disability" or his diagnosis. The word autism is not dirty or bad. The diagnosis was not the end of the world--it was the beginning of a different one. Derek is as beautiful to me now as he was the day he was born--maybe even more so. Because I know how hard he has worked. I know what he has overcome. Every word out of his mouth is a MIRACLE. I'm so proud of him I can't possibly describe it in words. And I hope that someday down the road, when (not if!!!) Derek is speaking, he'll tell me he's proud of me as well...