A Letter to Zachary, My Son Who Continues to Defy Expectations

Today is March 7th, 2014.

Today is your birthday, Zachary Rockford David. 

Today you are 8 years old.

This morning, you woke me up at 4:58 a.m. and ran to my bed.  I was still squinting at the bright light being flashed in my eyes as if I was under this enormous spotlight. My dulled red hair was in an upheaval state as I felt your warm, soft breathing close to my rosy cheeks.

“MOOOMMMM! Guess what day it is!!?” You utter with the utmost excitement, though you are trying to do your best to stay at a reasonable decibel level.

“It’s my birthday.” 


“Oh. Yeah. It’s Scottie’s birthday.” 


“Whose birthday is it? Let me think.” 

“It’s MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!” 

I grasp your sweet little hands and pull you in so I can tuck your cornflower blonde hair under my neck as I whisper, “Happy Birthday, Zach.” 

Though you keep me on my toes in a way that Kenneth, Andrew, and Alicia do not; though you challenge me every day with my patience and temperament; though you are headstrong and bull-headed, you are my little miracle and a day doesn’t go by where I don’t thank God for giving me a talented, loving, and compassionate little boy who dances to his own beat.

Happy Birthday, Zachary.

You are at school at this very moment – finally in an educational system that is allowing you to be who you are authentically while learning how you learn without people ridiculing you…berating you….telling you what you’r restrictions are.

You amaze me, Zachary David.

You surprise me, Zachary.

When the doctors said that you may never read a book, the day that you brought home your compact, light-colored reader and uttered the words, “The cat ran” from the robust pages of the beaten booklet, it made my heart thump so hard, Zachary. I could tell, that you had spent countless days flipping through those pages as your little thumbprints were evidence of this, just to show mommy and daddy that you could.

Zachary, you’re an inspiration.

I know I’m not suppose to have a favorite child, but Zach you’re my heart when I don’t think I can crack a smile.

Those moments you raise your soft hands to my reddened cheeks and put your forehead to mine are the moments I will never forget. And as you get older Zachary, I can slowly see that mischievous, intelligent, and memorable boy turn into a young man.

I can see you, Zachary, be the gold standard of humanity without using your disability as a cop-out in life. There is not another little boy like you; You are imperfectly perfect and I thank the stars and the vast sky for having a little young man like you in my life.

Zachary, I’m watching it snow out the back window and Scottie is at my feet, tears are welling in my eyes because I know– I know — the curveballs life has thrown our way. I have seen how children, and even worse yet, how adults — ADULTS, have treated you…how they have labeled you…how they waived you off as another statistic.

Here’s a statistic for them:

You are wonderfully made.

You are far more intelligent than any standardized test can reflect.

You are compassionate. You are sensitive to others. You are sympathetic. You are more perceptive than any IQ test can ever, ever, EVER show — you put full grown adults – including myself – to shame in regards to how flawlessly you navigate this world with pure innocence, love, and indifference to insults propelled your way.

You’re amazing, Zachary.

It’s a privilege to be your mother. It’s a privilege to share these moment with you. It’s a privilege to have a hand – any hand – in shaping you to be this ginormous person of enviable spirit.

Zachary, I hope whenever you read this, I have done my job in the slightest of satisfaction to honor you as an individual because there is only one Zachary Rockford David.

And he is you.

Happy Birthday, Smash.

With everything I have, I love you.


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