I am a mom of four crazy awesome kids who are my whole world. Being a mom has its challenges but for me I felt “I HAD IT DOWN.” After I had my first son, it took me some time to adjust going from working to full time mom, but we found our groove and we rocked it. I went to all the baby doctor milestone checkups not thinking anything of it. Yes he’s crawling. Yes he has words. Yes he’s pointing. Growing confident in my “mom ability,” I had my second son. Same thing but a different personality as my first and own way of doing things but again we moved along the path I was familiar with. Again thinking “I HAD IT DOWN.”
Growing more confident I had my third son. My Harlan. Just like my other two, he had his own personality. Looking back at the early months of his life, there were small things that were behind but it wasn’t until Harlan was about 13 months old that my “mom senses” started really going off. He never crawled or walked or did a lot of those milestone that I took for granted with my other kids.

Harlan has always been my sweet sensitive child. Oh man when he hugs you or cuddles on you, can you feel the love coming from him. But my sweet guy, now 13 months old, was not able to chase his older brothers or really communicate. He was getting so frustrated and unhappy. I tried everything and would go to the ends of the earth for my kids but it wasn’t working. I felt “I DID NOT HAVE IT DOWN.”

I was six months pregnant with my fourth baby when I started to realize Harlan was not progressing on the “typical” path. Coming to that realization was scary because this was a whole new world for me. I put a lot of blame on myself. Did I not do enough for him? Did I do something wrong? At about 15 months Harlan was referred to Minute Man Arc and we quickly got assigned an OT Specialist named Karin. Little did we know she was going to become our main buddy. Harlan is extremely stubborn and fought a lot of sessions at first. I won’t lie, it was hard for me to see him struggle but Karin was so sweet with him and also very good with me providing information to be able to help Harlan during his daily life.

Karin and I agreed he would benefit from PT work as well and we quickly got Diane. Oh man did my stubborn Harlan fight her. But again Diane was really patient with his unwillingness. With each session Harlan would trust and give a little more. As time went on we added speech with Judy and education with Kathy. The support team didn’t just help Harlan, my whole family got to know them and see them on a weekly basis. For the last year and a half, they became family to us.

Harlan is a totally different kid from when we started. I felt like he was almost trapped in his own body and always frustrated. Now Harlan runs to my glass door yelling Karin’s here! Diane or Judy or Kathy’s here! Running, stable standing, yelling clear names – all the things that when we started I couldn’t picture him doing. He is so happy and loves his Early Intervention crew and I do too.

I can’t even begin to explain how much it means to me to have people that care and want to help my child as much as I do. When I realized Harlan was having delays, I felt lost as a mom, but now coming to the end of our time with Minute Man Arc, I do not feel lost or scared. I feel hopeful and supported. I’m so thankful for everything they did.

So that’s why I donate to the work they do. They change lives. Children’s lives and the lives of their moms and their whole families. My hope for any parent feeling lost or in need of help for their child is they get involved with Minute Man Arc. I don’t know what Harlan or I would have done without them!!!!

Anastasia Graham, Boxborough, MA