Jake's Journey with Apraxia

And the Friends We Met Along the Way

Dear Jake,

Happy birthday, little brother!

On Christmas of 2007 our family was forever changed.

We were getting ready for our usual holiday festivities and at the last minute, BC* left to go out of town to visit his sick grandmother. BC could not spend Christmas with us and I was devastated. Not only was I sad for myself, but I was also disappointed for your brother LD.

At that moment in December, I decided that I wanted another child. I wanted a child that could never be taken away from me and I wanted LD to have a brother that was home day in and day out. I was tired of the goodbyes.

So, on Christmas, my sweet baby, just like that, God planted you in my belly.

Over the past few years, things have not always came easy for you. You remained silent until you were three years old. I had to wait until you were three to hear “mama” and when you were a little over four, during the week of Christmas 2012, you said, “I love you (too much)” for the first time.

While other kids were watching television shows and playing with their toys, you’ve had to spend much of your time working. You’ve been doing schoolwork and homework since you were two years old. You are a very hard-working child and your patience, determination, and work ethic make me so very proud of you.

Today when I picked you up from school your teacher said that you are a blessing to have in class. You are teaching the other children your hand cues for sounds and it is helping them to learn their sounds and words. You, baby … after everything we have been through. That compliment was the best five-year-old birthday present I could ever wish for you.

Right now you are a lover of many things. Power Rangers, Ninja Turtles, Ninjagos, baseball, tennis, Wii, and “Daddy’s iPad” fill your days with play. You also have a fascination with turning vacuum cleaner attachments into swords and you love to study maps. Your shoes are always lost, you quite often forget to wear underwear, and your toys are always scattered all over the house.

You are an excellent student and love to learn. You enjoy speech with Ms. Katie and music with Ms. Dana, and you look forward to seeing them every week. You adore books and beg to go to the library each week for new bedtime stories. Every morning you pop into my room between 5:45 and 6:15 with Buddy-the-Elf enthusiasm.

This birthday is monumental for me and I am rejoicing. Your brain is exploding, you are making friends, you are finally able to put your thoughts into words, and you are playing sports. All of a sudden it’s like you grew up over night. Literally. It’s like I got to keep my baby for 4 years and 10 months and now all of a sudden, you are a big boy.

What have the past five years meant to me?

A few months ago, I stumbled across a passage in the Bible that really resonated with me …

As Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.”  – John 9: 1-3

Jake, you have taught me everything that God is … faith, hope, prayer and love. Because of you, I have felt His presence in a way that I have never experienced before. It has been life-changing and I thank you.

I’ve also grown in so many other ways …

In addition to the obvious – learning about speech, language, and nutrition – you’ve taught me to trust my gut instinct. You’ve taught me to be outspoken. You’ve taught me to stand up for what I believe in … especially with doctors and speech therapists. You’ve taught me not one size fits all. You’ve taught me to think inside, outside, and all around the box. You’ve taught me it’s okay to be different. You’ve taught me about a whole community of special needs children and amazing mothers. You’ve taught me to appreciate the little things in life.

everyone changed

When you show someone your love, you make them a better person. You have made me a better person and in return, I hope I have succeeded in doing everything I can to give you as many opportunities as possible.

I love you too much,

Mama

a birthday is

* BC is my stepson & Jake’s half-brother. LD is my biological child & Jake’s older brother.

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8 thoughts on “Another 365 Day Journey Around the Sun: A Letter to My Son on His Birthday

  1. Amy R. says:

    What a sweet note for Jake to have forever! I meant to tell you that Brayden has been doing the hand cues with his letters and he says, “Jake taught us that.” He smiles when he says it. I love how Jake is learning while he is teaching the other kids too. So glad he is growing and making such progress. You both have worked so hard together!

    1. tstarmom says:

      So sweet, Amy! Thanks for sharing that. So glad they are in the same class.

  2. Tara from Minneapolis, MN says:

    This is BEAUTIFUL. Absolutely BEAUTIFUL. What a gift for Jake …… Thank you for sharing …. Once again, you give me a ray of hope …. My little boy is still on the apraxia journey and now my daughter has been diagnosed with it as well ….. It’s exhausting, challenging and heart-breaking … but your posts always show us that there IS light at the end of the tunnel …… What a BLESSING you are not only to Jake but to SO many of us as well ….

    1. tstarmom says:

      Thank you, Tara! How very sweet of you to say that. I can’t believe your daughter has also been diagnosed with apraxia. So sorry. But, yes there is light at the end of the tunnel … just settle in and take it day by day.

  3. naomi says:

    Happy birthday Jake, and it’s such a beautiful note for Jake. I second Tara from Minneapolis, you give us so much hope, and certainly helped so many of us.

    I’m still waiting on “I love you” from my son. Hope that day will come.

    1. tstarmom says:

      Naomi – Thank you for your sweet words. This post has a piece of my heart in it! Your son will say those magic words and when it happens, it will be the best feeling ever and one of those moments you will never forget. When you have to wait for it, it takes on a much deeper meaning. Hope your NutrEval goes well this week.

  4. Stephanie says:

    This was very touching to read. I have been reading your blog and I LOVE IT! I am a stay at home mom to 3 boys. Our youngest son is 2 and we just found out that he has Apraxia. We are very new to this, so being able to read someone else’s journey has been helpful. Our son only says “Mama” and the occasional “Dada”. He’s about to start Hippotherapy next week, riding horses. I hear it’s great for Apraxia kids. I can’t wait to hear him say “I love you” someday. He does his own version of I love you, which is very touching. Makes me feel good to see him point to his eyes, cross his hands over his heart, and then point to me. He’s the most loving child. It means a lot that he’s trying to let me know he understands us and wants us to know he loves us, too. Looking forward to your next blog. Thank you for giving moms like us hope!

  5. tstarmom says:

    Stephanie – Welcome! Thanks so much for stopping in and introducing yourself. You and I are similar – 3 boys and the youngest with apraxia. I’d love to hear how hippotherapy goes. I too, have heard good things about it. That is so sweet that he signs I love you. At that age, we also had a sign for I love you that my other two boys ended up calling “I love you bust rock.” One hand sign for I love you while doing the little bust rock hand shake. Cute! The real words will come for you and when they do it will be the best feeling ever. 🙂

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