Congratulations to Tara Murray, mother of 4-year-old Colin and 18-month-old A.J., who was the winner of Reston Limousine’s recent BEST Mom contest in celebration of Mother’s Day!
With the prize of a limousine at her disposal, Tara was accompanied by five of her friends and family members for a wonderful day at Breaux Vineyards in Purcellville and later at The Wine Kitchen in historic downtown Leesburg.
It was a day she truly deserves, for this Reston mom who works part-time as a design editor at USA Today deals with more than the usual challenges of motherhood — and all of it with a smile.
Before her youngest son, A.J., was born in October 2007, doctors found that he had a rare and life-threatening tumor because of a condition called generalized infantile myofibromatosis. He was born in a special delivery center at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington DC and immediately intubated at birth. Although doctors had prepared Tara and her husband, Chad, for the worst since the baby’s tumors couldn’t be removed through surgery, A.J. defied the odds and survived chemotherapy.
A year ago, Tara and her husband were able to take A.J. home, which they outfitted with everything they needed for his ventilator and feeding tube. Despite significant growth delays with his fine motor skills, A.J. is now starting to walk and learning to eat on a daily basis with the help of nurses and physical therapists who help part-time to provide his around-the-clock medical needs.
“Cognitively, A.J. is fine. He looks like a happy baby, he plays peekaboo,â€ Tara says, noting the contrast with the early days of his life, when “we had no idea what to expect.â€
Most of A.J.’s progress can be credited to Tara, her husband says. “She keeps on the therapists to push A.J., and keeps on the nurses to keep up with the regimen laid out for him. Her insistence, determination, and love for getting AJ better is something to behold,â€ Chad says. And he is getting better. Every day. On a daily basis, it’s hard to notice the little ways he’s getting better. She does. On a daily basis, it’s hard to appreciate how far he’s come. She does. On a daily basis, it’s hard to keep up with the doctor appointments, the nurses shifts, the medical equipment deliveries, the therapists coming in to our house, the food on the table and the house in working order. She does. And I have no idea how. I never thought I would ever love her as much as I did on our wedding day almost 7 years ago. Every day I am proven wrong. It’s so nice, to be so wrong.â€
Another friend, Jennifer Arakelian, best sums up the character of our winner: “Tara is an inspiration in kindness, fortitude and strength. She makes all of us reconsider what is important in life and to focus on the rewards of having our beautiful children.â€