What It Takes - Giving Thanks


Generous encouragement has come my way as I’ve chronicled the adventures, challenges and joys of mothering my special son Jonathan. Your kindness has buoyed my spirit, bolstered my courage, and strengthened my sometimes weary heart. I am not alone. Others love Jonathan alongside me. I take a breath. Gain insight. Do something fun - and love better for it. Others are what it takes. Others’ lives co-mingle with ours, surrounding this boy who needs yet gives so much. That imperfect striving made perfect in love, others’ goodness goading me to be better. In giving, each affirms Jonathan’s name, which means “Yahweh has given.” In giving others have received. So I’ve been told, over and over. God’s love washes over us all, weak and strong, meek and bold, and in that glow God’s image shines bright. In Jonathan’s life, this is what it takes. For those others no longer other who love our Jonathan, I give thanks. With my whole heart. For you.


FAMILY - Nick, my husband, the best father on the planet. Period. A Jonathan unattended for a split second can equal food snatched and distributed, items thrown or knocked over, in other words, disaster! On weekends or after hours when our aide is not with us, this means shared responsibilities of constant supervision, play, life skills and bedtime routine. The delight and pride Nick takes in Jonathan is contagious. Our sons’ and daughter-in-laws’ tenderness and affection reflect that, and melt this momma’s heart. Love you, Nicholas, Lexi, Michael, Maria, Stephen, Amanda, Daniel, and Matthew! Fleeting smiles on Jonathan’s face when you’re home tell all. Loving cousins, aunts and uncles complete the circle of love for this boy - he is so blessed!

AIDES AND CHURCH BUDDIES- Over the years, God has faithfully brought us aides who genuinely care about Jonathan. Something of his sweet innocence (except when he’s stealing doughnuts…) has captured the hearts of all. Maria, his adopted grandmother for the past 9 ½ years, helps with his cooking, cleaning and laundry at home, watches over him when I’m working, and keeps a consistent schedule that makes him feel secure. But so much more. Hear her cajole, scold and praise Jonathan, or belt out Spanish praise songs and hymns at the top of her lungs to soothe and entertain, and you’ve heard the voice of love. Frank, Cris and Tina, Jonathan’s church buddies, make it possible for us to enjoy adult class with our friends, and worship regularly, recharging spiritually. They serve faithfully and joyfully.

TEACHERS, AIDES, THERAPISTS AND SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS - Gifted educators tease out abilities I never dreamed possible. Jennifer & Johanna, his dream team in the classroom. Katie the speech therapist. Dr. Stephenson, the Assistant Principal. They work together with passion, commitment, and awe-inspiring dedication. Sight words, listening to chapter books, basic arithmetic, rudimentary skills on his communication device (“I want eat” most recurrent) dressing (with prompting) and other life skills are but a few of their accomplishments.

TRANSPORTATION AIDES -Bukaya drives Jonathan daily to and from school. He greets Jonathan enthusiastically, and gently secures his safety harness.

DOCTORS, MEDICAL TECHNICIANS - Dr. Anastasia Williams provides medical oversight, National Children’s Hospital eye doctors prescribe glasses, technicians create orthotics for his shoes.

SOCIAL WORKER - Jonathan’s social worker Ami helps me navigate the maze called government disability aide. Think forms, changing guidelines, deadlines, multiple agencies, and you’ll see why I’m thankful for knowledgeable assistance here!

FRIENDS - whether it’s a kind word on Facebook or a shoulder in person, I have been blessed with incredible, faithful friends. Sonji, Sandy, Sigrid, Becky, Pat, and so many others...the best!

As I picture each of the faces on this list, I am humbled, and so, so very grateful.

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy …...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil 1:3-4,6

Donna TavaniComment