It was August 27, 2004 at 12:11 pm. The c-section was over and there you were. I thanked God for you the moment that I saw you. Your lungs were great and your eyes were wide open. Sydney Gabrielle Copher. You would complete our family. I can’t wait until your big brother, Harrison meets you. He is going to love you so much.
As I think back to your first days on this earth. I had no idea of the journey that you had in store for our family. You would teach us unconditional love. You would teach us the meaning of having faith and believing in miracles. Sydney, you would teach us so much over the years. I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t prepared for the road that we would travel.
But I prayed too much for you and Harrison. So, I know God won’t leave us. You’re the second child and I am letting everyone hold you as they visit you in the hospital. There’s no shame in my game. I am nursing in front of coworkers, and complete strangers. I think I’m losing it.
I am glad Mommy came to Michigan. She should be here soon so you can meet Harrison. When your dad said he wasn’t staying the night at the hospital with us. I knew my marriage was over. But I won’t let the devil steal my joy. God give me the strength. I can do this. Postpartum Depression is a bitch. And I really don’t have time for that right now.
Sydney you brought joy to our family. You met all of your milestones on time. Our world was perfect and then we lost you. We lost you to a world of silence and isolation. You no longer answered when I called your name. You no longer talked. You began to grunt, walk on your tippy toes and pull out your hair. I lost you and I didn’t know how to get you to come back to me.
Autism was now a member of our family. How did this happen? Why me Lord? I only took one class in special education and the word autism wasn’t mentioned once.
Our adventures with autism weren’t always pleasant. Some days I cried and didn’t let anyone in. There were some days that I would think of ways to respond to people when they asked me if Sydney was retarded and when will she be cured. How will I get Sydney to talk again? How will I know when she is sick? Why is she having night terrors and wetting her bed? I am never going to survive this. Not by myself. I just can’t do it anymore.
I literally had to slap myself in the face. I can do this. I don’t have a choice. Sydney is perfect because God made her. He picked this family for her. I will spend my entire 401K to help her. I will do this “early intervention” everyone is talking about. But Sydney’s autism was different. She didn’t have a few quirks. She lost her voice but her mind was still there.
Each day, each tiny step had us moving in the right direction. When I look at Sydney Gabrielle Copher today. I see the same sparkle in her eyes and the same beautiful smile. I see her future. I see her potential. I see a beautiful young lady with a testimony to share with the world one day.
Every month is Autism Awareness for our family. But we wouldn’t have it any other way. Yes, I missed parties, dates, and events. But Sydney has shown the world that all she needed was people to believe in her and accept her.
April is Autism Awareness month. A time for our family to reflect on the progress we have made. And to set goals for the future.
We are an Autism Family. We are different but not less. Don’t forget to Light It Up Blue on April 2nd! And send us a Selfie For Sydney for Harrison’s Autism Awareness video. 💙💙💙