Sunday, October 14, 2012

Devan Joe: I'm SO Proud of MY Boy

"The van is here", Missy yelled as she peeked out our main door.

Devan's eyes instantly glimmered and a smile swelled across his face.  He grabbed his bookbag and took off out the door at a full sprint squealing with excitement all of the way to the school van.  Missy chased after him, buckled him up in the backseat and slid him a kiss goodbye. 

Just a few years ago, when Devan was first diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, uncertainty and fear filled our minds.  Flashes of dreams that we had for our little boy and had had since the beginning of Missy's pregnancy came crashing down like broken mirrors on the concrete sidewalk.

My son was going to love football.  My son, with his agile movements and quick bursts of speed was going to excel at football.  His adorable little face and handsome little body was going to have the girls knocking down our doors. 

It broke our hearts, as we went to social gatherings and saw all of the other kids playing together and Devan off in the corner by himself.  We screamed inside as our sorrow for him turned into sorrow for ourselves.  Why was he dealt this deck of cards?  Why was our family?

Slowly, over four challenging years, the dreams of who we THOUGHT our son was going to be have withered away and died like a flower after the first Fall freeze, as new dreams of who our son ACTUALLY is have blossomed like the most beautiful rose in the Spring.

In First Grade now, he absolutely loves school.  He writes, he spells, and he's begun to read.  He sits down and eats with the other kids and spends a large portion of his day in the regular First Grade Classroom.  We have been amazingly blessed with a great Teacher and helpers that really care about Devan and challenge him to succeed.

At home, he plays, he wrestles, he gets into trouble and gets arnery.  He teases his sister and picks on Mom and Dad.  Not always wanting to be alone, like in the past, he LOVES being in the same room as the rest of us and looks intently into our eyes as we speak to him.  He has started to say a few words here and there, but communication still is a big challenge for him.  His receptive language, however, seems to be as clear as day.  This Summer, after a few failed attempts and finally a one-day workshop, Devan has moved out of pull-ups into big boy underwear.  I honestly didn't think it was possible for Devan to get potty-trained without being able to tell us when he has to go, but he has done remarkable.

And as for the Football, I couldn't care less.  As his Dad, one of my goals is to find some activity that he really enjoys.  Once we find that, no matter what it is, that's what we will work on.  If he grows an interest for Football, so be it, but I'm not going to push that.  Whether it's swimming, taekwondo, or gymnastics, if Devan enjoys it, I will be there right beside him. 

I know that we have many challenges ahead, but I feel like we have reached a good spot for a sigh and to embrace the progress we have made so far on our journey.

What About You?

Do your expectations of how you think things should be get in the way of the beauty of how things are?  Let the old wither away and embrace the beauty of what God has planned with the new.



  1. What a beautiful post, Aaron! Devan is one lucky little boy to have parents like you who will nurture his dreams and help him be who God intended him to be. I can see where he is a blessing to you as well. Thank you for sharing this very heartwarming story of faith, hope and love. I love "he couldn't care less about football." :-)

    1. Thank you Kathy. Devan is a huge blessing to everyone he comes across. He has taught me so much in his 6 years.

  2. Aaron, I remember how your family struggled at the beginning with Devan. But it is so amazing to see how he has grown and learned, and how you as a family have grown and learned. There will never be another Devan. He is irreplaceable! You are an amazing family and I am proud to be part of your circle of friends.

    1. Thank you very much for the kind comments. Devan may be the best teacher that I have ever had. I have even thought of writing a post about that. We are a much stronger family because of the hurdles we have faced.