On This Day

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The last week of December is always a whirlwind.

There is Christmas Eve and Christmas.  Also New Year’s Eve.  But we also add Bobby and Catelyn’s birthdays during that week.  So, with a couple of get together’s and birthday parties – it is a week of non-stop celebration for us.

I don’t spend too much time on my computer during that week.  It is at the end of the day, when we are all sitting around I will do a high-level check of the apps on my phone.

Facebook has this update – “On this day.”  It is a reminder of something I have posted on that day in years past.  I have found I can’t ignore it, even if I try to.  I get this notification – the little red “1” appears to tell me “You have a memory to look back on this day….”

This Christmas I clicked on the notification and was taken back six years ago to the picture I posted for my Christmas greeting to friends and family.   Bobby and Catelyn are angels around Declan, the baby Jesus.


It really is a nice picture.  My neighbor had suggested it after Declan was born.  She had the costumes as she had done the picture with her grandkids when they were little.

I never shared the photo again.  My social anxiety took over, and in hindsight, I felt the notion that I was suggesting that Declan was Jesus Christ could gain an eye roll or be found offensive by someone.

But I never deleted the photo either.

I looked at the photo and mentally went back.

Declan was just a couple months old.  Bobby was 5, Catelyn 3.  I was on a weight loss journey.  I was learning the stay at home thing.

I scrolled through my photos on Facebook.  I came to the next of Declan.


Still a handful simply because he was an infant.  I had no concerns with Declan.  I was debating how much longer I would stay home.  What job would I turn to next?

I scrolled through my photos again.  His two-year birthday photo.



I couldn’t keep him off furniture or the counters.  I would find him the strangest of places.  We had to lock him in his room at night to keep him safe.  Didn’t even occur to me that taking his birthday photo as he ran across the kitchen table was odd.

Then we saw his pediatrician and she alerted me something was wrong and to call for help.  He didn’t sleep, he didn’t eat – In short, he didn’t do anything that involved sitting down or stopping.

I scrolled again through my photos and started to see what I couldn’t see at the time.

We took him to Dutch Wonderland, a small amusement park for small kids in Amish Country.  We were afraid to let him on any rides thinking he might just jump off.

Then I came to this picture.



When I took his picture and said, “Say cheese!”  He made the sounds, “Aaaaaa Eeeeeee!”  And then mimicked me taking his photo.

He was diagnosed with autism and all those things that my husband and I asked each other, “why does he do that…..” made more sense.

The good news, to me, is that as I scrolled again into the newer photos I saw the smiles.  The more support he got, the more he smiled.

So I went back to the beginning again.  There were a lot of things that I took for granted with this photo.  There were things that I just thought were going to unfold.  I thought his path was going to mimic that of his older brother.


Life didn’t unfold like I had planned.  Instead, there were months and years that were the hardest I had known.  I began to realize Declan had a mountain of challenges.  I had a lot of reservations and lists of things that “Declan couldn’t do.”

As I scrolled I thought of those immensely hard days.  And saw glimmers of light as I went.

ON THIS DAY took me back,  But it helped me see a big picture.

Now, I still have a list.  But it isn’t things Declan can’t do.  It is a list of things he CAN DO with a little help.  Or things he will do, just not yet.

I see all his accomplishments and know with a little love and support, Declan will always do his very best.


29 thoughts on “On This Day

  1. Every time I read one of your posts about Declan I am so moved. Moved with admiration for how you have sustained him and assisted him in moving forward and throughout it all you seem to have maintained your sanity. These things are triumphs as far as I’m concerned. I am so happy to know Declan is now moving toward a bigger “can do” list. Bravo to you and to all of you in your family for this triumph.

  2. That photo is wonderful. I would have it as my Profile page if it were me. You are blessed with such wonderful children. My daughter had a really difficult time over the holidays, and Isobelle became a recluse. It was 9.30 p.m. England time when we finally Skyped and I didn’t even get to see any of the gifts we got her. My daughter buys them with our money.

    1. Thank you so much! I am sorry to hear that about Isobelle and that you didn’t get to see any of the gifts. Thinking of you and your family!

  3. Robyn, I sit here with tears welling up in my eyes, for all the joys that you have shared with each one of us on your family’s journey with Declan, Bobby and Cate. Much of the same things Declan has gone through, will go thru and have overcome is very similar to Tyson and much like his beginning photos to now, I can relate. I used to think at first what he couldn’t do, but then I realized that each child is unique in their own way, whether they have a diagnosis that makes them a little bit more unique or they don’t. In the big picture, love always wins over every defeat or setback they/us face. You are such an encouragement to me as we traverse through the unknowns. And the pictures of him being on the table that we take as normal, might surpise others, but definitely does not surprise those of us that deal with ASD daily. As far as the picture at the top of this post, I am so glad you shared it. Each child is a gift from God to be nurtured and loved unconditionally and you do this very well as a mom. Love you! Hugs!

    1. Love awlays wins! I love that – you are right! Yes, I think that we become so used to seeing or ASD kids do such wild and somewhat scary things that we become immune to it. Thank you so much, Carlene. I am glad you lke the photo – I sometimes need to let go of my irrational (and irrelevant) fears. Thank you so much! Love you too! Hugs!

  4. What a beautiful story. Sometimes all it takes is a pictures back and suddenly we see the big picture. Mind I always enjoy looking at my children’s baby pictures 😀😀. But honestly, looking back helps you appreciate what you’ve done and how far you’ve come with him. God bless you dear and keep up the good work. 💝🌹

    1. Thank you so much! I agree, looking back really helped to see the big picture. It has been a hard road, but one that has found many rewards! Thank you! God bless you too!

  5. The only positive thing that facebook does for us is to drag us back through our past! Do NOT delete the Christmas picture of your kids acting out out Christ’s birth. Christ was a human (not a God). His death is the greatest gift to man kind! If someone else is offended by the picture, they can just not look at it. It is a beautiful re-enactment by children (the innocence is there!)

  6. Love Dutch Wonderland. We went every year for about five years. I’m sorry my kids aged out. Isn’t it sad that we need to censor ourselves because we worry what others think? Thank you for resharing the Jesus photo.

    1. We did too – Dutch Wonderland has it all for the young ones. And for us, it is only 30 minutes away so it was an easy go to. Yes – I hate that I censor myself. You nailed it when you said hate is for Facebook. I agree and let the nay-sayers in my head when it comes to posting there and that photo. Thanks for supporting it’s reappearance! In blog world I have a blog post that has been brewing in me for about a year and a half now, but it is likely to offend. So either I write it from a different angle or sit on it. I’m still sitting.

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