Last week you turned fifteen. It happened to be field day at your school, and your smile when you saw me waiting for you to perform was magnificent.
That smile carries me many days.
I usually have a variety of emotions on your birthday. I always take time to remember the first moment I heard you cry and held you in my arms- my firstborn, bright with promise. It took about three years and a lot of doctors to get you here, and your dad and I were beyond ecstatic. Your arrival made us a family.
It launched me into the role I was born into, if you believe in such a thing.
The reason I’m ambivalent on your birthday has nothing to do with your label, or even the dreams I had for you when I was still hosting you. I’m mostly past feeling sad that you will never go to college, marry, or enjoy the trappings of a more “conventional” life, because in my mother’s heart I know you don’t miss these things. You are truly happy with your DVDs, your YouTube videos and your hits of Baby Einstein. When not in the throes of a catatonia episode you are blissfully happy. It is more than enough.
It is almost everything.
No, I’m not ambivalent on your birthdays because of you “now.” I’m ambivalent because of your future. You see birthday boy, your mom reads a lot and talks to many people about what’s coming down the pike as you enter your transition years.
By the way just yesterday you were snuggled into a perfect fit in my arms, so how did this happen?
Some people call post-21 the cliff (or the abyss, it depends who you talk to).
Some say they’ve been able to create fulfilling lives for their adult children.
I want you to know with every inch of my soul I’m shooting for the latter.
I also want you to know that last week I did something different- I pushed that ambivalence down, lived in the moment (!) and just reveled in who you are, did not imagine who you will be.
I’m very proud of myself.
You’re strong, mercurial, funny, kind, smart and abundantly affectionate.
Your hugs are the best thing in the universe.
I love you with every core of my being, and I will fight for you with my last breath.
You are my heart.
Happy birthday to my not-so-much–a-boy anymore.
I love you.
For more on my family visit my blog at autismmommytherapist.wordpress.com
Follow me on Facebook at Autism Mommy-Therapist