I used to think a birthday was a formality. Just another day on the calendar that would bring cake, presents, and balloons. This was until years after you were born that I understood the true meaning of February 20, 2011.
I remember that day. I remember taking for granted the notion of having another child. In 2011, I just felt that health, milestones, and the thought of a baby would be easy. That’s who I was back then. I was self consumed with the picture of a family but not the work that went into it.
When you came along that early morning, I held your finger. I smiled. I checked on your mother. I wondered when I’d get your brother and sister to meet you. And I rushed through the the joy of you being with us.
I did so because I thought of you as being the next child in the family. That you would come home and your life would be like that of your brother and sister.
But that wasn’t you. You struggled from the moment you got home. Your legs wobbled when I held your hands. You couldn’t hold your own bottle. You had little words to speak.
As each year passed, you had to work that much harder. As your peers walked, you didn’t. As your peers played, you didn’t. As Autism arrived, you ran with it.
The beauty of your narrative is that it continues to grow. You continue to reach milestones that we didn’t know you would reach.
That’s what I now take with me as we celebrate you. I no longer look at a birthday as a formality but a gift to celebrate. Today we celebrate you and I celebrate the appreciation of what you have given me. It’s 7 years of life that has made me my best version. And that’s a lot to celebrate.