Thursday, July 21, 2011

The littlest heros.... the siblings

I know I've posted about Holden, Ashton's younger brother many times..... well, Holden is Ashton's wind beneath his wings..... :)

But, have I told you how awesome he is?

<~~~~ That beautiful baby boy, was the single best and most important thing we ever did for Ashton. I mean yes, we had a second child because we wanted one and knew a second child would round out our beautiful family. But what we didn't know at the time, was just how important of a role Holden would play in helping Ashton. We didn't realize just how crucial Ashton's well-being and independence would be and what role Holden would play in that. Never did we realize how good of a therapist Holden would be. A built-in and free therapist, imagine that?! :)

Holden has always been early at meeting his milestones. I mean heck, he came out, 3.5weeks early after a 2.5hour labor! ;) He's been early at everything! hahaha! He started walking around 8-9ish months, started talking shortly after his 1st birthday and he was talking non-stop by the time he was 18months old. Holden knew all shapes, colors, ABCs (upper and lowercase and all sounds) by his 2nd birthday and was singing the Star Spangled Banner and was saying the Pledge of Allegiance by his 3rd birthday and also knew his full name, birthdate and phone number and address.

<~~~~ That is a picture of Ashton and I the summer before Holden was born. I got pregnant the month after this picture was taken. We were still undergoing the diagnostic process for his Autism (meaning, we knew something was up, but didn't have a label yet) and had decided, if I didn't get pregnant by the end of that summer, that we would remain a one-child household. Well, Holden was meant to be, because I found out the day before mine and hubby's birthdays (August 23rd) that I was pregnant. Ashton underwent testing for seizures (MRI, EEG) and genetic screenings and blood tests. Everything came back normal, but we knew something was going on with our precious boy. We found out in November of 2001; Autism. The scarlet letter of developmental delays. He rated on the severe end of the scale, and we were left wondering what that would mean for our sweet boy. We found out in December of 2001 that our new baby would be another boy. While I was sad at the thought of never experiencing having a little girl, I know now, that our second and last little boy was exactly what God had planned for us. In January of 2002, Ashton started school, a preschool class for special ed children. His teacher (Ms. Cindy) was an Angel on Earth (though she may dispute that!). I greatly admired (and still do!) this woman; she has a huge huge heart, has special needs children of her own and yet, was going to school to finish her schooling and was teaching special ed kids. Because of her, Ashton learned incredibly quickly. He quickly picked up on the communication skills that laid the groundwork for us to be able to hear his sweet voice. At first, he used PECS cards and used those for communication. On April 16, 2002, Holden made his grand appearance! Ashton's teachers knew when he didn't come to school that day, that I'd likely had the baby. When Ashton returned to school the next day, we sent in pictures of his new baby brother and he wore his "I'm the big brother" t-shirt! :) What a grand moment for him.

I was fortunate in that I got to stay at home with Holden. Ashton was in school full day when Holden was only 4months old, so he got lots of 1:1 mommy time despite being a second child. We went to playgroups, LLL meetings (LaLecheLeague; it's for breastfeeding mothers), and we were hardly ever home! :) Lots of mommy & Holden time. At this point, Ashton didn't pay much attention to Holden I don't think. He was still very much "in his own world", although I would often get pictures like that one ~~~~ ^. Beautiful, aren't they?

It wasn't until Holden was around a year old, that Ashton became more aware of this little being that had set up residence in our home. Holden was walking already (Ashton didn't walk until he was nearly two-years-old; now known to be because of hypotonia in his upper extremeties) and was talking pretty clearly for being so young. We had moved right around this time and that had set Ashton back quite a little ways. But, what was quickly becoming apparent was, he dearly loved his little brother. So sweet! <3<3<3

As the boys grew older, and over the years..... Holden's personality came to light. He would not be ignored. It's just not in his personality. He also helped Ashton come out of his shell. Due to Holden's outgoing personality, and his precociousness, Ashton was seldom able to withdraw when Holden was around. Holden loved to play and interact and never had any problems adjusting to a special needs brother; Ashton was just who he was meant to be, his big brother. See ^^^ pure idolization of his big brother, and I think it was mutual between the two of them. They would put up from each other, what they would put up from no one else.

and here's some more pics, story will continue afterwards.....
Ashton would have never wore this if
Holden wouldn't of had the same costume!
Trip up to NOVA '07 - LOVED the carousel in the mall
Holden's first day of kindergarten - MY how he grew!
Ashton at the special games for his school

Look at that smile - RUNNIN'!

Fun with friends


Fun with family friends!
(I Promise, no kids were harmed in the taking of this photo! LOL)
Still feelin' that brotherly love <3
One of the first years Ashton REALLY got into Christmas '09
This was also the year Ashton decided to give himself a hair cut! :P
Happy 12th Birthday Ashton and Happy 9th Birthday Holden!

and now we are here today (well okay.... a few weeks ago LOL) ..... :) 

Holden has helped his brother immensely over the years. But, I think what has helped Ashton the most, is Holden being exactly who he is, so that Ashton can become the young man who he is supposed to be. Ashton is now a very verbal and social creature. Almost always happy, and talking non-stop! Ashton now has a pretty engaging personality. You can't talk to him and not smile. He's so funny and comes up with some really cute things to say! Sure, he's not at a twelve-year-old level, and I doubt he'll ever be totally age-appropriate, but he's come such a long ways from where we started. Holden has been the biggest part of that. Holden knows that sometimes, we can't just go out and do fun things, because Ashton just can't always handle that stuff. He's been put on the back burner on many occasions because of Ashton's therapies, school issues, etc. Holden is now coming into his own, now that he's getting older. Holden is very smart, very active, and is quite a talker. He gets very good grades and is well-liked by all of his peers and teachers. He's quite popular at school, as Ashton paved the way for him! As night and day as my boys are, they are both a very special part of our family. Ashton has taught us that slow and steady wins the race, and Holden has taught us that gettin' up and goin' and havin' fun is a good thing too. They're both sweet, loveable and funny as all get out. And the love they have for each other? Unsurmountable. They're best friends and stick up for one another when they think the other is being wronged. Holden has picked good friends, all of whom have accepted Ashton for who he is, not what he has. Ashton is a book-lovin', movie--watchin' fiend while Holden is a video-game playin' and runnin' around actin' crazy goofball. But, at the end of the day... they're both ours. Our sweet boys who are both growing up into incredible young men.

My hope for them is to always remain friends, always look out for one another, and always remember, that blood runs thicker than water. Family is family, and they do for one another. and Thank you for being the two best sons any mom could ever ask for!

Love you BOTH very very much!

The little lion? that's Holden..... in 2006 on the homecoming float for his school

One of my favorite pics of Holden, EVER!
First soccer game - ala Karate Kid! LOL

No idea what the silly faces were for, but I LOVE it!
2nd place in his VERY FIRST wrestling tourney! AWESOME!

Holden took this picture, with my little p&s camera - photographer in the making?

VERY first GOLD MEDAL in wrestling!

Small, but MIGHTY!
he had some anxiety about the tube initially, but then wanted
to keep going back out in it! :) YAY!

I'm always proud of both of my boys' accomplishments, but I try to make sure Holden gets the extra attention he deserves. He's had to give up a lot with having a special needs brother, and has always taken it in stride. He's a very sweet kid, and this post is for him :) I hope you've enjoyed the story and the pictures :) Thanks for letting me share

Have a nice day!


  1. Thank you for sharing Jenn, I to have an autistic son he is now 28 and his younger sister has helped him so much. She has reached him in ways no one else could of. They are both such blessing from God and I love them with all my heart. Johanna is now married and Joshua miss’s her so much. However she still continues to bless him; and him, her. .
    The best thing is that our precious son-in-law has also been such a blessing to Joshua! God is so good.

  2. I loved reading this beautiful tribute to Holden. The siblings of autism are true heros. I am glad that your boys are such blessings to each other.


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