Actress and singer Tisha Campbell is celebrating this week because her son Xen is set to be a college-bound young man. It’s an especially sweet victory for the mom of two because Xen lives with autism, and Tisha has been encouraging him to go for his dreams despite the barriers the developmental disorder can create.
She shared the news, saying she cried tears of joy because the 18-year-old, who stayed on the Dean’s list in school and as she shared, works two jobs to be financially independent, already exceeded all her hopes and dreams for him.
“My baby… Today, I cried happy tears for two hours straight in traffic,” she wrote. “Today my son, Xen, got into the college he’s talked about since he was eight years old. He didn’t wait for anyone to help him. He didn’t wait for us to help him and when someone said he’d never get in — He applied anyway. It’s it’s so apropos because that’s how he has lived his life regardless of the odds.”
“My baby wants to be an animal conservationist and he will be,” she added. “He has stayed on the deans list and is holding down two jobs because he wants to be independent of a silver spoon He cares less about labels. Xen, mommy’s goal was to make you as independent of me as possible. I wanted you to be able to survive greatly without me. I never knew you would surpass my hopes for your future. You are amazing man. Mommy loves you with all my heart and soul. You and your brother are my everything. Thank you for choosing me as your vessel.”
The news was especially inspiring to other parents of special needs children who commented on her post, including actress Sherri Shepherd, whose 14-year-old son, Jeffrey, has developmental delays.
“Tisha this testimony gives me hope for Jeffrey!” she wrote. “You’re an amazing mother CONGRATS Xen!”
Tisha and estranged husband Duane Martin welcomed Xen in 2001, and they are also parents to 10-year-old Ezekiel. The Martin star has been very open about being the parent of a child with autism. She actually said in a 2017 interview that she once believed that her expectations of what Xen’s future would have to change so that she could focus on ensuring he would be able to reach basic milestones.
“As a mother of a child who had to go through specific struggles, you want the best for them, but when you get this particular diagnosis you have to retrain your brain to think of your dreams and aspirations when it comes to your child to be a little bit more basic,” she said to Majic 107.5. “You don’t have time to feel guilty, you don’t have time to feel sorry for him, for yourself, or your family—it’s time to get down and busy.”
“I gave myself three days, to mourn the loss of my dreams of aspirations for my kid,” she added. “Now I had to get him to just say mommy, ouch, hurt, please, love you. . .That’s all I needed. . .You gotta put in the work and you don’t have time to feel guilty, you just gotta get everybody on the same page and quick.”