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.