My son Kai is pretty awesome, and I love him with all my heart. That statement, however, doesn’t always show the deeper underbelly of what it can mean to parent a child with disabilities. When my son was born it was like my heart was ripped open and laid raw, and my intense and deep love of him was all I could comprehend. Yet as my devotion to him grew, so did the obstacles we had to face. I didn’t want to see how he was different from other babies; there were so many quirks I thought were unique to my child and therefore special, but that made my life so very, very hard. He would cry for hours, unable to handle the world he was in, and I was completely locked out of his beautiful brain and all its thoughts. When I was eventually referred to Minute Man Arc for speech delay, I thought it would be great to have a little help, but I was worried about what that meant about my son, myself, my family. Would he earn some label that would keep him from becoming the President of the United States some day? Would our little family withstand outside influence?

What began as a trail run became the best thing to happen to us. Bit by bit, our amazing and dedicated MMA therapists put more of themselves into helping Kai and my family through some difficult scenarios. Kai became more and more able to get through to us in meaningful ways. He learned to point to indicate he wanted food, or that his diaper was dirty, or that he wanted to see that loud thing making noises in the corner. The crying, the hysterics, the child who could-not-be-tamed started to recede, and his energy and enthusiasm for life started to emerge. He would run to all the therapists who came to our home with wide open arms and a happy heart because they were making the world tolerable and livable for him, and by extension, for me and my family.

Today my kiddo thrives and excels in so many ways, thanks to the MMA therapists work with not only Kia, but our entire family. And that is why I donate. I donate because every child deserves help discovering and communicating their inner amazingness, no matter what the challenges they or their families face; I donate because the last 5 years MMA has not only been my stand in village, it has helped me cultivate and grow a supportive, larger one; I donate because I would have barely survived without the amazing therapists and community that touched our lives. I donate because I love MMA the way I love my family – with more fullness and understanding than I could have ever found on my own.

Talia Bigelow

Boxborough, MA