Like any parent, for the past five years I have wanted to find a way to celebrate Simon's birthday to make him feel special. I've always wanted to plan a party at his favorite venue, invite all of his friends, and decorate to fit his craziest little boy whims. I wanted to give him a whole day to call the shots -- my big (little) birthday boy.
But Simon never understood any of this. I'd tell him about his birthday and ask him what he wanted to do; but he couldn't tell me. I'd want to invite his friends, but he didn't understand the concept of friends, or even have much of an interest in other kids. I wanted to fulfill his craziest whims and wishes, but they were unexpressed. So, I'd do my best to be creative; finding ways for him to have fun and feel special. Because foremost, Simon's birthdays have always been a celebration of the most amazing little guy I've ever known.
Nonetheless, for the past five years, I've greeted the day with a twinge of sadness. His lack of birthday anticipation had always highlighted a difference between him and more "typical" kids, which reminded me of his other differences, and I'd find myself gradually slipping into worry and wishing for what could have been had he not had a stroke before his very first birthday.
But this year is different.
This morning, Simon's teacher emailed me asking me when Simon's
birthday was -- because he was approaching each of his friends,
individually, and inviting them to his birthday party. He'd touch them each to tell them "You and you my party!"
I was out
running errands when I got the message. I'm not ashamed to say I started
crying right in the middle of the art supply store. Thankfully, it
wasn't terribly crowded in the aisle with the glue sticks.
I told Simon's OT about it this afternoon she started to cry, too.
(Thank goodness I had the foresight to switch to waterproof mascara.)
I'm blubbering right now just thinking about it. We had what might be the longest conversation I have ever had with Simon about cake (vanilla), icing (purple), decorations (pirate!), presents (pirate legos!), venue (Playzone -- "where Emma's party" -- he actually said that!) AND FRIENDS (my friends! Mrs. McGee!).
My big birthday boy.