It’s been over four years since your mom and I found out we were going to have a baby. I remember when she told me. I was excited, but I was freaking out too. I always wanted a son or daughter. That was what I was excited about. I was nervous, because of the troubles your mother and I had trying to have a baby. We had miscarriages, and we had done testing. We did not know if having a child was in the cards for us.
You changed all that.
We found out we were going to have a baby boy. Man, I tell you what, I was on cloud nine. I started thinking about sports, girls, high school days, baseball . . . the list could go on and on. Your mom was excited too, but I think she wanted a girl. That’s between you and me.
On March 30, 2015, you changed all that.
Before I left for work, your mom told me she was going to go into labor tonight. I laughed and told her she was crazy.
I kissed her goodbye and I got in my patrol car. I went to work, and I just kept thinking of you. Later that night, Boom, I get a call your mom was going into labor.
I leave work and race home to pick her up to go to the hospital. I call into dispatch to tell them any reckless drivers going to the hospital are just me.
I was excited. I was thinking, This is it. Today I become a parent. What, me? What am I supposed to do?
I hope your mom is going to be OK. I hope you will be ok. A thousand different things are going through my head.
Several hours later, the nurse asked me something I will never forget:
“Do you remember what I told you to do if we have to do an emergency C-section?”
I tell her yes and she tells me to start getting ready. This was because you needed to come out. Your heart rate would drop, and the cord was wrapped around your neck. That’s what you get for being our little wiggle worm.
I put on my suit, and I walked into the operating room. I remember looking around thinking I had just walked into a movie set. It was cold, but I saw your mama, and I knew I was in the right spot. A couple minutes later, there you were. My boy. I remember looking at you, and you smiled at me.
There you were . . . our miracle baby.
I gave you your first bath, and I didn’t let anyone hold you until your mom came back from surgery. Holding you, my life was complete. I remember thinking, I am here for you.
Anything in this world was going to be yours if you wanted it. They were right when they said you don’t know what love is until you have a child of your own.
We spent days in the NICU, because you couldn’t keep your body temperature up. You also had sugar problems. I remember saying you were just hanging out in the hot box. We came every day, and you got stronger every day. That’s when I knew you were a fighter.
We got released, and we went home. You started to grow. We noticed things about you. You were delayed in certain milestones. You stopped talking. You would tense up. You didn’t want our help. You didn’t look at us. You wanted to be left alone. You wanted things done a certain way.
One thing you never lost was your smile or laugh.
Your mom told me something was wrong. I didn’t believe her. Something wrong with my boy? No way. I don’t believe you. He’s my boy. He’s going to play baseball. He’s going to play football. He’s going to do great things.
Then she told me she thought you had autism.
I knew deep inside that was it. I didn’t want to accept it. No parent does. I remember the day like it was yesterday. The doctor telling us you had autism. It was a feeling no parent wants to experience. We left the office, and we cried in the car. We didn’t say anything. We left for Florida, and the new journey started.
There are two ways you can respond to news like that. You can sit down and hope for the best, or you can be determined to face the challenges head-on. I remember looking at you one night. I said, “You are a fighter. I am a fighter. Your mother is a fighter. We will fight for you.”
That is what we did, and it is what we continue to do.
You amaze me every day. You fight battles no other 4-year-old has any idea of. You fight hard. You show your strength. You give others strength and courage. You show people you can do this. You are the strongest person I know. You are stronger than me. You prove it every day by overcoming daily struggles. You are my hero.
Yes, you have autism. Yes, you are different. Yes, you see the world differently. Yes, you learn differently. Yes, you will continue to battle.
Here is one thing I know: it will not stop you. You will not let it. Your mom and I will not let it stop you. Autism will not define who you are. You are my son. My Kash. My love. My heart.
So what we expected is not the reality. We go to doctor appointments, therapies, work at home, work at speech, and work on communication. This isn’t the norm for other families. It is for our family, and I know we would not change it for the world.
Kash, right now we may not be throwing a baseball or football. We may not be kicking a ball around. We may not be riding bikes. I don’t care. You are who are. One day, we will do those things. I’m not going to give up on it, because you don’t give up. We will continue to jump on the trampoline, swing, and play in the pool. We will get there. Not on the normal path, but we will walk your path.
Hold my hand. Take me on your journey. Keep showing me your smile. Keep giving me your huge hugs. Keep laughing. Keep running around the house. Keep looking at me with your true blue eyes. Keep making progress. Keep fighting the fight. Keep your head up. Keep moving forward.
Most of all, KEEP BEING YOU.
I love you, and I am so proud of you.
Love you bubs,