Happy birthday to me

No, it isn’t my birthday.

That’s in May, and lord knows they come around fast enough with me moving the date around.

But this is a story about one of the best birthday presents I ever received.

In my quest to raise money for Ethan’s Angels and the annual Triangle Run/Walk for Autism, here’s an Ethan story:

It was May 2006, and we were still living in Shelby.

I don’t recall if it was exactly on my birthday, or if my inflexible job schedule meant we were celebrating it on some other evening.

What I do remember is coming home for dinner in the early evening, and then a little later, getting ready to head back to work.

To set the stage, Ethan was four years old. It was about two years after we had been told – near another one of my birthdays – that our son was likely mentally retarded, may never talk and basically never have anything even remotely resembling a “normal life.”

In those two years, we went through speech therapy, occupational therapy and a battery of other tests, programs and rituals. Things were progressing very much as we were told they would.

He wasn’t talking much. He would utter the stray word here and there, but mainly he was using a little tube with velcro pictures to tell us he was hungry, thirsty or anything like that.

It wasn’t great, but it was the new normal.

But, anyway, back to that night in 2006.

I was going back to the paper. I kissed my wife goodbye, and told her, “I love you.”

Then, I walked over to Ethan, who was standing in front of the TV.

“Bye, buddy. I love you,” I said.

“I love you,” came a reply.

A specialist would say that it was echolalia – or he was simply repeating what he had heard me say.

That may have been true.

Not that I cared the slightest bit.

I snatched him up and hugged him, just barely beating Shanna to him. We all laughed and danced around the living room.

It remains one of the happiest moments of my life.

It was the first of what have been many victories for Ethan, who’s now a vibrant eight year old.

And if you know Ethan, speaking is a non-issue for him now.

Part of the help we got for Ethan – and the support for me and Shanna – came from the Autism Society of North Carolina.

Making a donation to Ethan’s Angels – the team we have participating in this year’s Triangle Run/Walk for Autism – helps support the ASNC.

Help us make more success stories, like Ethan’s, for children dealing with Autism.

Donate today!

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2 Responses to “Happy birthday to me”

  1. Shanna "The Wife" Says:

    You are an amazing father. I’m so thankful that we’re on this beautifully chaotic journey together. I love you.

  2. Blogging with Bryan C. Hanks : Kinston Free Press Says:

    […] Our good friend Randy Capps posted this last week and I forgot to put it on here – but it is an awesome anecdote about his wonderful son. Last year, the HB and I were part of Ethan’s Angels and we’re also a part of the team again this year; I’m going to set up a donation page next week and I’m likely going to give away two tickets to the sold-out N.C. State-ECU football game as a prize for donating. When I get the details ironed out, I’ll post ‘em next week. […]

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