Eleven years ago today at 12:33 pm....NPayne, Addi and I welcomed with great joy a baby boy into our family. Callahan Leigh Payne was born weighing in at 9 pounds 13 ounces and the biggest baby we would have. He was such a huge chunk of love and held such a huge part of my heart. He was born on my Mamaw's 80th birthday! From the moment this big bald boy entered the world, our lives would forever be better. Labor and delivery were quite difficult....to say the least....and I remember just praying that my son would make it through okay. He did, and although we have had some life changing diagnosis with our boy; we are so thankful at what God has brought us through Cal. He has taught us so much about real true unconditional love....about how to appreciate the little things....about how to not take things for granted....about how love, support, faith, encouragement and mostly hope can change someone's life for the better. Thank You God for choosing us for him and him for us.
Cal has been so excited about this birthday....almost annoyingly so at times! ;)
Everyone at his school has been personally invited to his party, as a matter of fact,
everyone he sees....whether he knows them or not.....has been personally invited.
One thing that Cal does is.....live out stories, books, and TV shows.
He has not totally grasped that fiction and real life are not always related.
After reading "Arthur's Birthday" literally hundreds of times over the last few months,
Cal has decided that we should have a surprise party, have grandma make a chocolate cake, surprise our neighbor Brittany with a party on the same day as his; and get him some Thomas leggos. He is living out that story and making it his birthday! It's really amazing the memory he has, but it's even more amazing that he is putting himself and friends as the characters in the book. We were told before that children with autism don't know how to "imagine" or "play make believe". Well our son does....of course he is expecting a chocolate cake! :)
Cal is amazing in many ways, and although Autism and Fragile X definitely can set him apart in negative ways; he is also set apart in some very positive ways....
He doesn't lie....he doesn't know how to.
His brain works like a living breathing calendar and clock.
If I ask him what day Nov. 3, 2010 is on....he can tell me.
He is not embarassed to hold my hand....even at 11!
He still loves to play with his sisters.
We don't have to worry about what he's doing on his iphone, itouch, ipod, internet;
because he has no desire to own those things....he's happy with his trains.
He doesn't care about having "things" like everyone else,
because he doesn't understand peer pressure.
I love how much Cal loves to swim.....it took him until he was 6 to venture willingly into a body of water....but now he loves it. I remember signing him up for swimming lessons when he was 3, and he cried so hard the first day that I never took him back. I also remember the first time he was watching his sisters swim, and he asked if he could put on a swimming suit. As NPayne dug around for a swim suit and put the size 3T on our 6 year old, I cried when he got into the pool. I remember crying tears of relief and joy that he actually enjoyed the pool.
Cal simply adores his sisters, and I LOVE how he looks out for them.
He is so very concerned for their well being. If one of them is crying,
he wants to console them. If one of them is doing something he feels may be
dangerous, he wants to warn them. I love the bond he has with each one....it's different for
each of the 4 girls....and each bond is beautiful.
I love how Cal will refuse to wear a coat, gloves, hat
boots, or anything to keep him warm....unless it's snowing.
Then he will gladly put them on to play in the snow. I love
that he will throw snowballs and help build snowmen, and that he
will stay outside until he's soaking wet.
I love that he is a wonderfully made boy.
He was made in the image of our savior, and
for that we are so grateful. Cal lives out WWJD
without even realizing it. He doesn't have to be
intentional about how he treats people. He is naturally
remorseful, and naturally caring.
I love how much Cal loves to swing.
He will sit outside on our tree swing for hours
just simply swinging and watching cars pass by.
He soaks in mother nature and all her glory,
and he is happy to do so.
I love how Cal is happy with the simple
I love that he doesn't have to be busy to be happy.
I love that you can see his mind working when he's thinking about something.
I love that his soul shines through in all he does.
I love that Cal will run outside and stand on our sidewalk,
so he can see the train pass by when he hears its whistle blow.
I love that Cal is learning to be proud of his accomplishments.
I love that he is working hard to do better, but mainly that he is having fun!
I love that my boy will now let me take his picture
just about anytime I ask. As a photographer,
not being able to take his picture without him getting upset
was heartbreaking. Now he lets me take it often, and he will even smile!
I love that Cal is simple and complicated.
I love that he is obedient.
I love that we don't have to be so intentional in everything we do anymore,
but I love that schedules and organization have helped him learn to be more flexible.
I love that he will now go to the shoe store and try on shoes....he won't wear them until August....but at least he will go pick them out.
I love that he will let NPayne and his mama cut his hair and clip his nails
without it ruining his whole day.
I love that he will now wear a collared shirt!
I love that he will let me kiss him on the cheek without wiping it off....at least most of the time.
I love that he has friends, teachers and family who adore him and support him.
I love that he will ask me to play catch with him,
and when he catches the ball in his mit.....he will
run around the bases yelling, "RUN CALLAHAN RUN!"
This journey, of Cal's life, has had its ups and downs....
as most life journeys do....it's been so challenging at times
I was at my wits end, BUT I have never given up on him; and he has never given up on me!
I can't imagine his life journey being anything different.
Cal has taught me more than I could ever explain.
He has taught his sisters, his daddy, his family, his community more about life and love and hope than most people ever do on their life journeys.
He has made me a better person!
I love you my sweet boy....with all my heart and soul....I LOVE YOU!