This blog is about a family of two loving parents, two sister schnauzers, a persian, and a very loved young man who faces severe autism daily, sometimes better than others. We will relive the lows, laughs, and joys of our "normal" life. Always under the hand of God.

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Snow and a Black Cat

We named this blog, startedinnc, because North Carolina is where we started our family: Vickie and I met, married,  and Madison was born there. The day Madison was born, I looked out of the hospital window and thought, “How could everyone think it was just a normal day?”  Didn’t they know what a miracle had just happened?

We were very blessed to live where we did in North Carolina. When Madison was first diagnosed with autism, we tried to find what type of treatments were available for him. We kept hearing about ABA therapy, that it was the best answer for us. But where would we find it? We learned that in North Carolina there were only two schools where that therapy was offered. One place was in the eastern part of North Carolina. The other place was a public elementary school where they had one class that was offered to a few select individuals. The elementary school happened to be in the same county of us, in fact just around the corner. Maybe a hundred yards away from our backyard. It is a strange feeling because you are thankful for your good fortune, but you realize others are not so fortunate. One of the lessons that we have learned in this journey is that resources are very scarce and how they are distributed is often haphazard and not fair.

There are two stories I want to share about our time in North Carolina. Our weather was very similar to Greenville so it was rare that we would get snow. One time we got a snowfall of over six inches. This would probably be the first snow that Madison would have seen. I started my morning like I still do; I went to get the paper. The snow came almost up to my knees (short legs). And it was breathtakingly cold.

When I went back to the house, I noticed that the door was wide-open and, in the quiet of the snow, I could hear his uncontrolled laughter. I couldn’t see him but I could see the trough in the snow where he was running. When I saw him he was enjoying his new adventure. Because of the snow, he had not stayed on the side-walk and had made a beeline out the door and through the yard. When I got to him I picked him up and brought him back inside. (It is so nice to be able to pick them up.) Well I needed to bring him inside, he was in socks and pajamas, not good snow clothes and not waterproof.

While Madison was growing up, he did not have a lot of friends. We had a swing set in the backyard and Madison enjoyed playing on it. For a couple of years we had a black cat who would come and play with Madison. He would rub against his leg and let Madison sit on him or grab his hair. A boy like Madison is not an example of someone who is gentle with anything, even pets.

But the black cat would come back any time Madison went out. Vickie named the cat “Stupid”. I think he was an angel because even if Madison didn’t bother with him, it was good to see that we were not alone, not the “untouchables”. It’s just hard to think of an angel as a black cat.


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“Is he a vampire?”

“Is he a vampire?”

The question was startling because the young boy who asked it was so wide eyed, serious, and innocent. He was not scared or judging, he was just being inquisitive. Madison and I were just getting into the neighborhood pool that summer evening. With Madison’s bleach white skin and red hair, holding his hands up and shaking them, and the recent release of two vampire movies, I could only smile at the innocence of the question. I bet we did seem otherworldly.

Most of Madison’s life is indoors. Tranistions for him are very difficult, he is very comfortable in his own room, so we have learned to start about thirty minutes before we need to leave for anywhere. Even then sometimes we have to cancel because he just can’t handle it. So he is not outdoors much.

Lately, though, that question is becoming relevant again. In the last month, Madison has begun going into the backyard to swing, at six o’clock in the evening. Did I say it is winter and it gets dark at five thirty? Did I say we do not have any lights in the backyard? I swear he can see in the dark. We have often expected it. He often comes into the room and turns off all the lights so it will be “black”. My father would be so proud of him, but I don’t think Madison is trying to save our family any money on the power bill. If he wants to help our finances, I would suggest he lighten up on the fridge.

Man, teenage boys can eat a lot.