(A letter from a mother to her son on his 2nd birthday)
I still remember the first time your father and I found out we were pregnant with you. We were on Cloud 9. We had this deep sense of already knowing your soul before you were even born. It also felt like a sense of relief, for I was not sure if I’d ever be able to get pregnant. Over the years my body had been through a lot of stress and imbalance, and I had taken many different medications to treat my ulcerative colitis. We were initially told that it would be hard for me to conceive, yet here you are. And how lucky are we that you chose us as your parents?
When you were in my belly, your father and I would talk about you for hours on end: what you’d look like, whose personality you’d have, what your first words would be, what things you’d like.
For all 8.5 months, you decided to stay in the same position. I know this because every month we did an ultrasound to make sure you were OK. Perhaps you wanted to hear my heartbeat loud and clear, because you never turned from your upright position. At some point during the pregnancy, doctors asked me if I wanted to run some screening tests to see if you’d be at risk for having Down syndrome and other birth defects. I adamantly said NO. I didn’t want any of these tests to play a factor in me enjoying the pregnancy because it wasn’t going to change the fact that we were having you. No matter what, I was determined to bring you into this world. We asked God for a son and He gave us you. Nothing else matters. I told your father, if you did have any birth defects (and I still don’t like that word “defect”) we’d just have to deal with it. But it wasn’t going to change my decision about having you.
On May 26, 2016, you were born right before 8 a.m. via cesarean section and I couldn’t have been more content, calm and confident in the delivery room. I was finally going to meet my son, the newest member of our tribe. Our legacy. I’ve dreamt of that moment for a long time, and you did so well. When I first laid eyes on you, my heart felt like it doubled in size. Feeling your skin on mine was the greatest gift ever. I thought to myself “you are mine and you will be just fine.”
The first year of your life flew by. During that time we picked up and moved our family from O‘ahu to Alameda, California. Sometime around 15 months we started to notice you were a little behind in some areas compared to your counterparts. And it became really noticeable when you went to daycare at around 17 months because other boys a few months younger than you had a bigger vocabulary. We were told boys take a little longer than girls to speak, but at 18 months the doctor did mention something to us during your check up. He was concerned that you were only able to say 2 words. So we decided to hire a speech therapist to come every other week so that you could get professional help.
Fast forward to April 24, 2018. We brought you in a month early for your two year checkup. I was most excited to see how much you weighed. Honestly, I was not expecting to hear what the doctor said that day. Perhaps your father was expecting it, but I wasn’t. After observing you for a few minutes and asking us if you have increased your vocabulary from “mom” and “dad” the doctor looked me in the eyes and said, “Your son is autistic.” He was concerned about your speech, social interactions, and lack of eye contact with him.
In that moment, it felt like someone punched me in my face and waited to see me cry. I think the doctor was expecting me to show more emotion than I did. I remember him saying it isn’t going to be easy, but lots of kids go on to lead a “normal” life. However, I kept my composure, nodded my head and said, “Yes, we know he’s behind in some areas. So let’s get him the help he needs. What are the next steps?”
I held it together until we got to the car. I remember asking your father how he felt. And then I shared my feelings with him. I couldn’t hold back the tears. They came gushing out. It was a lot to take in and think about. Your father and I have been talking about your speech delay for a few months, but to hear an authority figure say those words and put a label on it … there was more power to it. It felt more definitive. We sat there in the car reassuring each other that everything would be OK. That you chose us as parents because you trusted us and this was just the next challenge our family was going to face head on together.
To cope with the news I headed to the gym. Your father took you to the Bay to go fishing and take you for a walk. I cried by myself for many more days to come. My head was spinning. I had so many questions: what does this mean, what happens next, will I need to pull you out of daycare, will you be able to go to school and thrive there, will people judge and make fun of you, will you live with us for the rest of your life, will you ever play sports, go to prom, have a girlfriend, get married.
I thought of ways to tell your grandparents. I knew they would be devastated. I thought about how people were going to treat you. You had already been picked on by some kids at daycare and I was so worried about how people would interact with you. How they would judge you. How you might start to judge yourself.
Son, you have so much to offer the world. You are such a pure, loving, joyful soul. Everyone who has had the privilege of spending time with you in your element knows it too. Other than meeting your father, you are the best thing that has ever happened to me. I truly feel the three of us were together in a past life. And we have once again found each other in this life. We were put together again to do amazing things here. To help raise the consciousness of the Earth. To spread more joy and more love. To remind people to be kind, empathetic, and compassionate. For every person who will ever tell you you’re not enough, know that I AM TELLING YOU THAT YOU ARE ENOUGH. In so many ways, you are enough.
My feelings in the days that followed was that I had to heal you. I could do Reiki on you and “fix” you. I have met and heard of several Reiki and Pranic masters healing children with autism. However, since then, I’ve looked at things a little differently. While I do Reiki on you for 20 minutes every day, my intention is not to “fix” you. Because that’s assuming something is wrong with you. You are perfectly God-made. When I do Reiki on you, my intention is to send you love and goodness, so your soul can decide if anything is out of alignment and needs restoration. Reiki will also help to intensify your strengths and gifts.
I was reminded by a good friend of mine that “autism” is just a label that society puts on children who are not “normal” in their eyes. But what is normal nowadays? And in the last 10-20 years why have there been more kids diagnosed with autism? My friend who has worked with autistic kids seems to think that they are like little light beams sent to Earth to teach us how to love more, how to be more compassionate, and how to communicate on a higher frequency. They are here to teach us how to “talk” without using words and to be more in tune with ourselves and others. She told me that you are a master of frequency. She said “think about it. The universe only responds to vibration/frequency.” She explained to me that you are vibrating at a much higher frequency than most and reminded me that you communicate just fine with your father and I. This is true. When you’re with us, we know exactly what you want and need without you verbally telling us. The way you hold our hand, initiate a kiss, smile and stare into our eyes…we know how much you love us. We communicate through touch, laughter, singing, a look, a facial expression, and ENERGY.
Somewhere online I read about a mother asking if her autistic children were like angels. Here is a response that really resonated with me: “You ask if your children can be compared to angels, but in fact they hold a position much higher. The rest of us serve as the foot soldiers in God’s army. Which itself is a position greater than angels. But your children are of the elite troops, completing a special task in this world. Their challenges are certainly no fault of their own, and neither of yours. On the contrary, you have been given the great merit of bringing these two elite souls into the world, nurturing them and caring for them as they complete their lofty mission. It is by no means an easy job, but God only entrusts these souls into the hands he deems most appropriate.”
I am grateful the doctor diagnosed you as “autistic” at an early age so that our medical insurance can connect you to specialists. However, in all other areas of your life, I will not be referring to you as autistic. Instead of using the label “autistic,” your father and I have instead decided to call you HVC for High Vibrational Child. We like that a lot more. You are incredible, and God has blessed you with so many special gifts, especially the gifts of love and joy. You know how to brighten up a room wherever you go. You have an affinity toward nature and animals, especially horses and dogs. Animals are attracted to you and you seem to calm them down. You also have a gift with music. We can’t wait to help you explore that more. In fact, we bought you a keyboard for your birthday. We hope you like it. You’ve been intrigued (infatuated is more the word) by Adele since you were 6 months old. You prefer to listen to her music and watch her concerts everyday. She is what we call our savior because as long as we can sing or play Adele music, you calm down; no matter where we are. We will continue to focus on your strengths and help you develop them more.
God put you on this Earth for a reason. You chose your father and I for a reason. We are incredibly honored to go through this journey with you. I don’t want you to spend your whole life trying to “fit in” to society when you were meant to stand out. Be bold, be courageous, be you. No matter what challenges you’ll come up against in the future, know that you are mine, and you will be just fine. Your father and I are right here by your side, helping you, guiding you, smiling and laughing with you, making the best decisions for you, and we’re going to love you through it all.
Happy 2nd birthday, sweetheart.
I love you forever and always,
Reef Kamaha’o Kupa’aikeaomālamalama Kekua Pontemayor
Kamaha’o means: wonderful, astonishing, marvelous, wondrous, surprising, remarkable, incomprehensible. hoʻo.kama.haʻo To be or do something wonderful; to take a new and more splendid form.
Kupa’aikeaomālamalama means: standing firm in the light.
Reef’s Birthday Wish: In celebration of Reef’s 2nd birthday, he would love nothing more than for anyone reading this to donate some money (even $10 would make a difference) to his friend Cru Silva. In October, Cru was diagnosed with bilateral retinoblastoma — an eye cancer that affects 1 in 20,000 children each year. A tumor about 11 millimeters was found in his left eye and multiple smaller tumors, or vitreous seeds, were discovered in his right eye. The two have become good friends after spending time together over the last couple of months while Cru remains in the Bay Area to get treatment. I continue to do Reiki on my son every day and I do Reiki on Cru each time I see him. Love can heal all things and Reiki can bring the body back into balance.
Here’s how you can donate:
Here’s an article in the Maui News about Cru.
Note: As we continue to go on this journey as a family, I will be sharing more on my podcast that I hope to have up and running in the next few weeks. I know I have a lot to learn about “autism” but I do not want to waver from my intuition or what’s in my na‘au, as Hawaiians say. Trusting my intuition has always served me best.
Check out this article from a woman who is a Reiki master, nurse & educator:
How An Autistic Child Can Be Gifted Spiritually