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The Magic of Birthday Eve

November 30, 2012

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Tonight I’m going to put this little guy to bed as a 3 year old.  And some magic will happen tonight and tomorrow when he wakes up he will be 4.  Its the sort of magic that comes on Christmas Eve.  You can’t put your finger on it but you feel the excitement in your belly.

I want to get this all out tonight.  On the eve of his 4th birthday. So that tomorrow when I wake up I can be happy and excited and rejoice in the anniversary of the day I became ‘Mommy’.  Because tonight I am pretty down.

I didn’t realize how much stock I had put in this fourth birthday.  Of how excited and looking forward to it I was. Except as it drew closer and closer and I got more and more depressed.  When you have your baby they are so adorable and cute and lots of fun. But I was waiting for the days when they can talk and play and learn and be curious and I could show them caterpillar cocoons and see the magic in their eyes for the first time as they learn all about our wonderful world.  And 4 was that magic number for me.  Four is energy and curiosity. Four is fun and learning.  Four is becoming less of a toddler and more of a preschooler. More independent and more of a little person.  I was waiting patiently for four.

When we received our diagnosis at 2, I placed so much hope that we would give Rett intensive therapy and by four we would see huge differences.  That he would blend in more.  That he would be making friends and playing and asking questions and being.. a four year old.  I thought that if I put my all into this child that I could change the future and make it how I wanted it to be for him.  And now on the eve of four I realize that I can’t.

My precious Rett is at least a year behind in speech.  Yesterday when we took him to Chick Fil A, Rett was so excited to see one boy he said ‘My name is Rett!’ along with some other jibber jabber. The little boy turned to his mother and said ‘I can’t understand him he’s only 2 years old’.  And when my little boy was two days away from turning four those words from that innocent child cut my heart because I saw the reality of how my dreams of four were turning into smoke.

I have fought for this child. I have done above and beyond what I was told to do. I listened to the goals and I worked at home.  I found a scholarship for therapy we could never afford. I MADE this work for him.  Because he’s not just one in 88. He is my first born. He’s our Bird. I have tried from that first day to do everything I could to ensure he had the best chances of a happy, fulfilled life.  But it wasn’t enough.  And you can tell me how wonderful I am and how someday he will be leading a happy, successful night but tonight I just want to be allowed to feel all this pain.

Tomorrow when he wakes up, I will make his four birthday cake.  I’ll hang on every expression that goes across that little face as we celebrate the day we welcomed him into this world.  And I will be so proud to watch him blow out his candles on his birthday cake.

Autism has taught me a lot in the last 2 years. Its taught me to be grateful when your child can do anything without being directly taught it.  To be thankful when they talk so much you just want to shut yourself in the bathroom to give your brain a break.  Things I never thought I would even pay attention to, I have celebrated with my husband. We have found pride for our son in things that others take for granted.  But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a hard, long road.

As a mom you worry so much over every decision from the minute they put those little babies in your arms.  And tonight on the eve of four I am overcome with that worry.  That the choices I have made these last two years were not enough. That I have failed him.  And I’ll never know.  Will the words I did the best I could be true?

Tomorrow he won’t wake up the little boy I looked forward to when I held him on my lap as a baby.  He just won’t.   But he will wake up as the intelligent, curious, determined, loving child that he actually is.  I have heard magical things happen around age four for a lot of our autistic kiddos.  So here’s to another year of enjoying Rett where he is today and celebrating every accomplishment.

Happy fourth birthday, son.  You made me a better person the day you were born. And the world is better because you are in it. I love you so much.

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