This post has been playing on my mind all week. the wording,the structure. How I can make it not sad or melancholy. How I can make the post happy and upbeat. It’s a birthday I should be so happy to have a healthy child. I should be amazed at all he can do. right? It should stop there. For parents of NT kids … it does. But for those of us in Autism Land we all know it doesn’t. Every birthday, though much celebrated, is bittersweet. I wanted this to be a bubblegum post about happy birthdays wished and proud moments of sunshine. I wanted this post to not have to even exist. Here I sit with my coffee in hand and tissues ready. Because even after years of facing my demons with Sammy and slaying the dragon, my heart still breaks into pieces each year when he turns a year older. So forgive me this will not be one of those posts full of sunshine and rainbows. Perhaps because it comes at the end of summer, when we have been holding Sammy together using Duct tape for 3 weeks, after summer program.Perhaps I am just still angry. Who knows.
Sammy doesn’t seem to age the way other kids do. While he gets taller and his shoe size changes, his mind set doesn’t change as much. He seems much the same Sammy year after year. There are changes, some I never thought would happen. Things I thought we would never accomplish and mountains I never thought we would conquer. The road has been rocky and steep. I am tired, and he doesn’t even know how far he has come. He knows he has autism. he has no idea what that means and he is trying so hard to figure out what it means for him. He understands it makes him different, and we tried to make it positive. For some I guess it can be,but he struggles so much with day to day normal stuff. I just want to whisk him away and make it alright.
He is Seven now. Seven! It’s hard to believe that this boy is more than half way to 10! He ages about 6 months developmentally for every chronological year he passes. we are up to about 3.5/4 years of age in his thought process. Mind you this isn’t ability. He can do a ton of things most kids his age do and I will post more on that later. However in his head Sammy is on much the same page as Nathaniel. In some ways Nate is even beginning to pass Sammy. Baby Nate (as he is affectionately nick named) is quickly becoming the big brother, getting Sammy’s toys and coat, helping him find his shoes, and get dressed. Nate protects Sammy all the time. It breaks my heart.
He chose his birthday meal of Chicken Pie, lettuce (not salad) and dressing and cake(with berries). We went to the store just the two of us and Grace. He pranced through the produce, touched every carrot before picking one and wanted to put chocolate chips in the pie. He smelled every box of strawberries. He picked out the chicken and shook the blueberries so hard I had about 20 squished ones in the box when we got home. He smiled and told each person that passed “it’s my birthday I’m having chicken pie” I heard it about 5 dozen times. I came home, we made the meal. He played video games ( a big no-no if the sun is up here) but since it was his birthday he was allowed and I had a glass of wine. We had a slight meltdown over the games being done for dinner, but then something amazing happened… Sammy came to the table and served everyone both salad and pie. Each time asking “would you like chicken pie? would you like lettuce, not salad,just lettuce” I never thought when we set out on this journey that this could happen. He was so present, so open. His windows were Wide open and I could feel the breeze. Thank you God for the breath of fresh air after these past two weeks I can use it.
I love my son. I want so many wonderful things for him but I hurt. my heart breaks and some days I wish it could just be easy. Some days I hate autism. Some days I want to punch autism in the face. I am angry, it’s like an 8th person in the house who steals birthdays and sunshine and kicks puppies. I hate it! However I love my Son. He is amazing. and he shows me everyday that I take myself too seriously. He has helped me let go and smile again. He is amazing…and now He’s seven