Tony and baby Allen
Anthony J. Terroni II was a very special young man. He changed two lives in a very special way, and he never knew it. These two lives are mine and his baby brother Allen; who is ten years old now.
Tony was fourteen years old an the time and already had begun a journey down a very rough road. It was a very humid summer night in August. Tony was visiting his dad and me for the weekend. Two weeks earlier we had shared the news with Tony that he was going to have a baby brother or sister. There was not much of a reaction from Tony. He seemed to be happy about the news but he seemed to be holding something back that he just didn't feel like sharing with anyone, like so many other times in his life.
That hot August night Tony and I shared a very special time together. It was the most important and most special talk I would ever have with him. That one talk changed a big part of my life and the life of a child that wasn't even born yet.
After an argument with his dad, late in the night Tony left the house with the door slamming behind him. After waiting awhile I decided to go out for a walk and try to find him. After a short search I found him sitting next to the pool, alone under the stars trying to have some quiet time after the fight.
I sat down next to Tony and no words were spoken for a long time. We just enjoyed the sky together. The silence was broken when Tony asked me if I was happy about the baby. I explained to him that the situation wasn't the greatest, but God gave me this baby for a reason and just knowing that, it made me happy. I got to share with him how I wish I had made different choices in my life and why, and that raising this baby was going to be a very big challenge considering the circumstances that I was in, but any baby is a true blessing and God never gives us more than we can handle. I just had to keep a positive attitude. I knew Tony was listening and understood what I was saying. "Do you think the baby will be OK?", he said. This was a part of Tony that I never got to experience before and would never get the chance to again before he died. You could feel the power in the moment.
The quiet, angry boy was gone, replaced with a quiet, sensitive, caring young man. I didn't want this time I was sharing with hime to end. "Yes", I said, "I think the baby will be OK", not knowing where he was going with this conversation. Tony's next question really touched my heart. "Do you think the baby will be like me and have what I have?" You could hear the concern in his voice. Tony had just recently been diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, a neurological disorder charterized by tics, involuntary, rapid, sudden movements that occurs repeatedly in the same way. Your body jerks uncontrollably.
This disorder can be very frustrating and if you do not take control and understand the disorder it can consume your life. And I think that is what Tony was trying to tell me. I think this disorder kept Tony from doing and having what he so badly wanted. To talk to people, look them in the eye, have friends, be accepted, be happy, make good choices, like people, share what he feels inside, to be outgoing and not shy. Let people love him and help him. He wanted all this, but just didn't know how to find it, as he stated in a letter to his Grandpa weeks before he died.
He knew how he felt that night and he didn't want his baby brother to grow up and go through what he was going through. Tony also knew that it was more than the Tourettes that was consuming him, it was life that was consuming him, a life that he didn't deserve, and he knew his baby brother didn't deserve.
I didn't know what to say to him. I told Tony that I would watch to say to him. I told Tony that I would watch for the early signs of Tourettes and the other signs of life taking over, and if the baby grew up and had Tourettes Syndrome like him. I would get some help and we would deal with it.
Tony's next question I had no answer for. "What kind of help will you get him?" I told him I didn't know, if that time came God would take care of him.
Tony turned and looked right at me, the first time and only time the both of us had eye contact. He said, "Get him some good help, K". I understood exactly what he was trying to tell me. He knew I understood and he didn't have to say anymore. His eyes were doing all the talking. He wanted his baby brother to have everything that he so longed for but couldn't seem to find.
After assuring him I would do something to make a difference for this baby if he did have Tourettes, or even if he didn't, I got a very special hug from tony. It was special because hugs from Tony were very rare. So to get one meant the world to me. We continued to talk about Tony and the baby that would soon arrive. It was 2:00 am when we went to bed that night. That conversation was locked into my heart forever.
April 9, 1989 tony was blessed with a 7lb. 9oz. baby brother, named Allen Francis Terroni. When tony held him for the first time I could see him looking him all over and I remembered our special talk by the pool. I tink Tony was having the same memory. He loved to hold his baby brother. Tony read him stories and played cars and toys with him when he grew into a toddler.
Because of the circumstances in tony's life and the choices that he was making, the consequences for his choices took him away from his brother and the visits became very few. Allen was growing up fast while Tony was away in group homes, the youth center and jail.
Seven years had passed and Allen was now in first grade. It was at this time I saw signs Tony told me to look for. His baby brother was diagnosed with Tourettes Syndrome at age seve.
Everything that tony feared for the baby came true I remembered what Tony and I talked about and got to work. Gathering all the information I could find, meeting other kids with Tourettes, watching videos. Anythingg to help allen have the life that tony wanted him to have. God blessed us richly.
God is giving Allen taht life. Ge is a very outgoing, friendly young boy. He loves making friends, he likes people, talks about his feelings, looks people in the eye and he lets people love him and help him. He talks about his tourettes with his classmates, and loves life. He plays sports and is very artistic. Tony, you would be proud of him.
Tony, I believe God is using you and your life story to help change the lives of many people. there was a purpose for all that you went through. God has a plan and he is working it. He was working it 10 years ago while we were sitting at the pool. He was using what was in your heart to change a life that wasn't even born yet. What was in your heart that night God used to speak to me and tell me what to do in a situation I would face seven years later. Our god is an awsome God!
Thank you tony for sharing your heart with me that night. What was in your heart 10 years, has changed our lives today. You my son are a very special man. I just wish you knew that. If your baby brother could see you today he would tell you what he has learned.
He would say "We are NOT our Tourettes, we are Tony and Allen and the tourettes is just a small part of who we are. We just have to show every one else the rest.
Thank you Tony for loving us and I know how hard it was for you to share your heart that night. God used you to change our lives.
We miss ya and love ya, Lisa and Allen