Friday, December 18, 2009

Another Christmas Tea

My brother Tim is autistic. When we were little girls, the term "autism" was not in use as it is today, in fact most professionals knew so little about it that they often blamed the parents for the condition of the child. Many parents don't know the cause of their child's autism, but my mother knows exactly what happened to her firstborn son. An induced labor left her unable to breathe and her newborn son with brain damage.
Mom and Dad never hid Tim away or pretended he didn't exist. They kept him home for as long as they were able and, when circumstances made it necessary to find him a new home, they searched diligently for the best place. In the 1960's there weren't many options and Tim eventually ended up being placed in the State School. Every other Sunday we took a forty-five minute drive to Newark, NY and took Tim out for a ride to get a hamburger and a milk shake.
The State School has now been shut down and most of its residents live in smaller group homes of 10-12 residents. It is a far cry from the institutional setting where they once spent their days. I don't see my brother often, but since my father's passing, Rachel has taken up the task of taking Mom to visit Tim and go out for a drive to Wendy's each week where they buy a few Frosties and enjoy some time together.

Today was the annual Christmas Tea at the house where Tim lives. We missed Dad with his banjo and harmonica, playing and singing Christmas carols, but it was a good time anyway. And all three sisters were able to be there along with Mom and Aunt Margie.

(Thank you, Rachel, for taking the time each week to show your love, not only for Mom and Tim, but for Dad as well. We all know it would mean the world to him. I think he's smiling now.)


  1. Oh, well, Martha.. you know this would be close to my heart! What a handsome guy he is! I love how he smiles for the camera...we're working on that presently in our home. And yes..Rachel...thanks for the extra effort there...God will bless you for that! Thanks for sharing! :)

  2. I've been enjoying our time out together. We don't go every week though. Mom and Dad always went every other week, so that is what we do.

  3. Martha your post about Tim touches my heart.

    Some things in life are almost unbearable. Placing Tim in a home must have been second only to his autism diagnosis.

    It is wonderful that he was brought up by parents who loved him and cared for him while they were able to have him with them.

    The pictures of all of you together are so sweet.

  4. My brother's diagnosis came slowly. First Mom thought he was deaf because he didn't startle like other babies. When she was convinced his hearing was fine, something else didn't seem quite right.

    Although Tim was her firstborn, he was not her first baby. Mom and Dad adopted Danny just one year previous to Tim's arrival.

    I was probably about a year old when my parents went though the agonizing decision to seek out outside help for their precious child. He is now 51 years old and Mom's heart is still broken.

  5. Oh Martha,
    Your WHOLE family is such an inspiration and testimony to God's love for us and through us.

  6. Thanks for sharing the pictures. I like Tim's smile too.