Monday, June 06, 2005

All Grown Up

My Son, my first born, turns twenty-one today. I remember when he was born. We were so happy and we had so many hopes and dreams for his future. Oh what reality and twenty-one years of living with a disability can do to those youthful dreams.

My son is autistic you see. He has a very difficult time communicating with the world around him. He is emotionally delayed, and has had to struggle to achieve what other children do without even thinking.

And yet, my son is a Confirmed Catholic. He is an Eagle Scout. He taught himself to swim and ride a bike and skate on in-line skates. He graduated from High School, and went through a vocational program in computers while in high school. He works part time at a Goodwill store right now, and some day maybe he will feel confident enough to attempt to go to Technical School or Vocational School or even College.

About a year ago he decided to get his driver's license and it took him three tries to get his permit. He has been practicing driving for about two months now, and will probably be ready to try to get take the driving test by August.

He is bright, loving, and very funny. He has a very eclectic taste in music, and is a very loyal friend to those who are willing to invest the time to stick around long enough to get to know him and allow him to feel comfortable being around them. He recently told me that he has decided to write a book. I believe that he will do it. I can't wait to read it, I am sure that it will be amazing.

I am so pleased with all of the things my son has been able to accomplish in his life. What I have learned after all these years, that when we stopped dreaming of success for our son, and started dreaming that he would be faithful to God's plan for his life we began to see how amazing our son's life really was. It all depends on whose criteria we chose to use as the yardstick by which to determine what quality of life our son was going to have.

It will be very interesting to be around to see what the next twenty-one years will be like on his journey. I am blessed that God has allowed me to be a part of this.



Suzanne said...

You KNOW how I feel about your son! I have been touch by, influenced by, and loved by your son enough that I am eternally grateful that I know him.
Please give him a huge hug for me today!
Thank you, Michael, for showing us some of the way in the world to go and a way to be.

We love you!
Suzanne and all the McConnell crew!

Your 'lil bro said...

A few thoughts about my amazing nephew:

1) Everyone loved him so much at the family reunion in '85--which I sadly missed--they all went out and started the clan's huge baby boom in the 80s, which brought into our lives so many--like Michael--beautiful and amazing new children. I, the childless bachelor uncle, could not imagine my life without them all.

2) I remember Michael having an extremely articulate vocabulary when he was a wee lad. It used to freak me out.

3) I remember once playing a punk rock CD for Michael and Katie and how much Michael loved it; he was dancing around Mom's living room playing air guitar like a madman.

4) Michael helped me plan and execute my one and only birthday party, which was my 30th. He, Amber, Katie and I went to the party store and bought hats, noisemakers, and other silly party favors. Remember when we were kids, we were all supposed to get one birthday party where we could invite all our friends and make it a big deal. Well, I never had one, and on my 30th I FINALLY got to have it with my nieces and nephews. The photo Burke took of that pary, where all the kids sat around the table with me in our party hats, is so very precious to me.

5) He always kicked my butt at the computer game called "Duke Nukem." Michael was a god at that game.

Mark Mossa, SJ said...

Thanks for the beautiful celebration of your son.

I'm glad you found my blog, so I could find yours!