Saturday, May 12, 2012

One Year Later

This is not going to be an easy post for me.'s not always the easiest thing.

It has been one year since Ethan was tested & officially diagnosed by the Easter Seal's team with "classic autism." What I want to say is that it's been a hard year, but we are fine now. Well....sorry folks.....I'm not fine. The fact that my one & only child has this developmental disorder is just as hard on me as it was a year ago. He has & is making HUGE progress, but I HATE that my child has this disorder. I wanted so much for him, and this was NOT on my list or in my plans.

I just came home from our church's annual Women's Banquet. I actually had to come home early. I was about to lose it. I made it to my van before it all came spilling out....thank goodness.

I LOVE our Mother's Day weekend banquet. In fact, last year, I was the point person to plan it, and this year one of my best friend's did it. It was beautiful. We had our amazing 4 course meal provided by the men of the church and then Rachel West Kraemer, our special speaker/singer for the evening, began her performance. It was wonderful. But by the 3rd song in, I was already crying & trying to keep it together. Her songs were all about God's faithfulness & provision....and one was specifically about going through trials. I think on any other week, I could have handled this with my normal tears. But because of the significance of this week, I was barely keeping it together. My friends were giving me looks & pats of love, but I just was trying to limit myself to "church tears" while I kept dabbing my eyes.

After she sang a bit, she paused & asked for others to speak about God's faithfulness in their lives. I wanted to say something....about how God has been my sole source of strength & comfort on most days of this past year....but I didn't think I could make it through without going into the "ugly cry." After a few testimonies, Rachel shared about how her own son was diagnosed with autism years ago. She began to share their story of love & heartache, and I could keep it together no longer. I quickly covered my face & allowed the tears to rapidly stream down my face. I knew exactly what she was talking about....I know it all too well.

After her story, she began to close with the song, It Is Well With My Soul. After checking with my mom across my table for permission, I left the church. (I love it that my mama already knew...) I couldn't keep it together anymore, & I knew that this song would put me over the edge. I made it to my van & let it happen. Sobbing. Loud, ugly moaning crying. Cries of pain for my baby. Cries of sadness for his non-typical future path. Cries of brokenness. Of a life lost. Of a dream gone.

After about 10 minutes, I made my way home through still crying eyes, walked through the door & into my husband's open arms. This is a familiar scene in our home. The two of us not saying anything, but clinging to one another as we mourn. We don't need words....we both feel it. We share it. We understand it.

Tomorrow is Mother's Day, and I'm positive tonight's tears will not be my last of the weekend. I am so proud of Ethan, and I love every minute of being his mother. I am so blessed to have him as my child, and he has caused my heart to swell 10 times it's size. I love everything about him. But the pain of seeing him locked in his world is heartbreaking....even a year later. The challenges he faces on a daily basis are still overwhelming for this mama. And that's the hard & honest truth.

It's moments like this when it is hard to get out of bed in the morning. It's times like this that I just want to hole up in my home & stay in my protective bubble. It's days like this that even courage & coffee aren't enough to sustain me. So what does? Hearing Ethan babble from his bed in the morning. Seeing his messed up hair & smelling his super awful morning breath. Looking into those eyes & knowing that God gave ME this child. God entrusted ME with this path. And God provides ME with strength & endurance & wisdom. And I am so happy that God chose ME to be Ethan's mama....even on the hard days.

Thank you God for giving me Ethan. I love that kid more than life! Thank you for not only entrusting him to us, but for being there to help us as we navigate this path. I am one lucky mama! Happy Mother's Day!

3 months old

1st Birthday

2 years old
3 years old


  1. Thank you for sharing this! It was beautiful and so true to the heart of walking as a momma with a special needs kiddo. I love your perspective and love that you know and love our God so much. You are so the real thing! You encourage me so much!
    Happy Mother's Day!

  2. Happy Mothers Day, You are a wonderful Mother, your faith is inspiring a true testimony, to our Lord. Your courage and strength is amazing. God Bless you. P.S. I have loved working with Ethan, he is like a sponge he loves to learn, he always has a smile that makes my day, he has a pure heart of gold.

  3. Hi Jessica! My name is Jen. I have been following your blog for about a month now. I love it so much! You and your family have been a HUGE encouragement to me. This year I found out my 2 year old was autistic(total shocker). A couple of weeks later I started noticing that my 6 month old was showing early signs of autism as well. I barely made it through the devastation of it all. I can relate with you on every level!! This wasn't apart of my plan or dreams for me or my precious children. Gods plan and dream is different than mine I guess :D. I get to read you post and know that I am not alone in this journey. I am so thankful God led me to your site. When I read your posts I feel like I am reading my own thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Thank you for being so honest and for writing about the hard things as well as the good. Ethan is one of the cutest little boys I have ever seen! I keep reminding myself that my boys are HAPPY, HEALTHY, & HANDSOME! So, they may never see or experience life the way most people do but as long as they enjoy this life being themselves then that is wonderful. I keep meaning to write you but I get interrupted by the boys (Baylor & Bently)so often. Today I had to let you know that you are a wonderful mother! Ethan is blessed to have a mommy that fights for him in prayer and through seeking out every avenue to help him live the most rewarding and functional life possible. You are truly doing what GOD has called you to do!

  4. Jessica, you ALWAYS make me cry...and I'm talkn' ugly cry! There is no one on this whole earth like you. I am so thankful that God crossed our paths years ago, and I still get to call you Friend. Thanks for being you--you're good at it! Love you!

  5. Thanks so much ladies. I deeply appreciate all of your comments & support. I honestly don't know what I would do without ALL of you! THANK YOU!!!!

  6. Jess...not gonna lie, i was crying through almost this whole blog. You are one of the strongest people I know!! Your love for your son and your God are obvious. You and Corey are amazing!! Thanks for the honesty! Thanks for this blog. Thanks for giving me one more thing to pray for!