Friday, August 12, 2011

Happy Birthday to Our Traveler

Happy Birthday, Ethan! Nineteen years old, Amazing! Looking back at how far you've come makes us proud and hopeful for your future.

It's been a journey of love and one that isn't over yet. We will continue to travel it with you, hope with you and learn with you. Your journey has been a navigation through confusion, frustration, denial, acceptance, perseverance, and patience, all sewn together with a strong thread of love. Autism is not an easy label to carry. We've watched you struggle, fail, refuse, and then, try and try again. "Try" is a small word with a BIG meaning.

Watching you shake someone's hand when you first meet them, look them in the eye and say, "Hi", seems a simple, uncomplicated task. But, not for you. We know how far you've come, and we know how much focus, energy and effort you've invested into doing that "simple" gesture. And you keep TRYing.

Understanding the nuances of human expression can be daunting for anyone, and especially difficult for you. You ask questions, "Mom, is that person acting mad or sad?", "Dad, what did that person mean when they said that?". We hope you never lose that ability to ask questions, you will need that skill all of your life, and the skill to keep TRYing.

You've also found that people don't always understand you. You've encountered those who judge you or refuse to accept your differences, and you've been hurt, that is an unfortunate part of life, but you keep TRYing.

You haven't progressed through the developmental milestones in a way that the doctors view as "normal", and you may never reach all of these milestones, and sometimes this confuses you. You struggle with learning disabilities and this frustrates you, but you keep TRYing. That is what we want, hope and dream for you.....that you keep TRYing.

Just for a day, dear reader, won't you patiently wait in that slow line at the grocery store while someone counts out change to pay? That person may be learning a great life skill. Will you take time to really listen to someone who wants to share with you although they may be difficult to understand? That person may have something really interesting to say. And won't you allow a little extra room in your life for someone who is TRYing?

Happy Birthday to our sweet boy, hugs and love from your parents who will keep TRYing too.


For his birthday, Ethan took a flying lesson. A very nice pilot named Bill took Ethan up in his two-seater and let him taxi around the runway, and steer the airplane once they were in the air. Ethan enjoyed himself while Dad and little brother tried to distract Mom who waited nervously on the ground! :)

Here are some photos of our day at the airport:

Ethan and Bill checking fluid levels.

Ethan and Bill checking the aircraft.

Inside the aircraft.....this is where Ethan sat!

One last wave "good-bye".....

.....and they're off!

I sure hope Bill was flying the airplane while this photo was taken!

Thanks Bill for a great ride and an adventure Ethan will never forget!.....and for bringing my child safely down to the ground again! :)

Happy Birthday Ethan!


...Miss...Maddie's... said...

Happy Birthday to Ethan!
What a wonderful gift to go soaring in the sky...
Those that have no compassion or understanding for individuals that have special needs miss so much of life.
Susan x

Ruth Welter said...

Happiest of birthdays to your son Suzanne. Wow, flying, what a wonderful thing to do for your big day. Enjoy your weekend. Hope you are well.


Tina Eudora said...

A big Happy Birthday to your son Susan! I hope he enjoyed his flight, I know what a thrill it can be to fly around up there. I used to go up over Kansas City every weekend with a friend and it is a wonderful albeit scary feeling!
I hope Ethan had a wonderful day!
Tina xo

Julia said...

It is hard to believe Ethan is 19! That sweet wee babe, now towering his dad.
What a fun thing for E to get to go flying. What an experience!
All that you as a family have dealt with , continue to deal , will always deal are a constant example of love and faith to me.
Please give the birthday boy a big hug from Auntie J. Tell him I love him, and am very proud of him.

Dame Judi said...

"On Eagles wings" in more ways that we could have ever imagined.

There are such deep feelings of heart-pride for you all.

What a journey, what a ride it has been. Blessings as you all continue on.

TheCrankyCrow said...

Happy, happy, 19 Ethan!!! What a remarkable young man - in so many ways - and it is very apparent that the faith, love, and amazing support of his family plays a large role in the man he is becoming....Bless all of you...And WOW!! what a way to celebrate!! Makes my tummy tumble just thinking about it!! Guess even the sky isn't the limit for what Ethan can do!! Smiles & Hugs ~ Robin

The Wooden Acorn said...

What a wonderful gift. Reading your blog about your son's day was a true delight. Glad you shared with us.

June said...

Suzanne this was such a beautiful write from the heart. I think I have learned a great lesson from you today. When someone is so obviously disabled as my son is,sometimes I don't realize how hard it must be for one who's disability isn't as obvious and for their parents.
Yes, I will slow down today and everyday for someone who an teach a beautiful life lesson!

sending love...

We went to the Utah Ikea in Draper because it is only five hours from Carey where I live and because we have a daughter who lives in Layton, UT where I stayed.

Patti said...

Happy Birthday Ethan! And I must say that you are one brave woman :) The plane photo made me weak in the knees! Thank you so much for sharing from the heart. What a wonderful reminder to all of us!
I think of your son frequently and hope that he is recovering from his accident earlier this summer.
Blessings, Patti

Emily said...

How neat that he got to go flying!!His is an amazing guy. Give him a birthday hug for me!

Suzanne said...

Thank you all for stopping by and wishing Ethan a Happy Birthday!