Yesterday my beautiful sweet boy “Johnny” who turned 6 years old. His Grandpa said it best the other day….
“I love your hugs Johnny because one hug from you is worth a 1000 hugs from other people.”
Johnny is happy, determined, passionate, tenacious, stubborn, creative, industrious, relentless, silly, sweet, and caring. He also happens to be autistic which I like to think intensifies who he is and sometimes makes it harder for people to really know how he is. When I look back over a year I cannot believe how much Johnny has progressed. His fierce determination, will power and his emerging confidence is all snow balling now and sometimes we find ourselves struggling to keep up with his insatiable curiosity. With this forward momentum also comes more moments of anxiety that I am going to write about another day.
Right now I want to cherish the memory of a little boy FINALLY getting to really enjoy how it feels to celebrate his birthday. Every year we usually have a barbeque in our back yard with mostly family but this year nearly everyone was traveling so we had to do something different. Because of Autism, change, breaking tradition and “doing something” different are not easy propositions to navigate. As parents you worry about increasing anxiety on a day of celebration that is already different because of being a special day is breaking normal schedules.
We decided to do presents first thing in the morning on his birthday, and then have Johnny’s Grandparents join us for cake and blowing out candles after the kids had lunch and then all of us would head out to one of Johnny’s favourite places for fun on kiddie rides. It turns out that this break from tradition made this the BEST birthday celebration ever for Johnny. Instead of lots of close family in our backyard with all the attention on him and the expectations that brings, he could enjoy himself with very close family at home then head to his favourite place for just enjoyment with his little sister being his buddy. The joy in Johnny’s face as they trotted up hand in hand to each different ride. Every ride brought a bigger smile and more often then not a request to do it again or one more time. Johnny’s sister is only 3-1/2 so she is relatively new to the amusement ride experience but this time she was just as willing as him to try every single ride out without our fear.
It was a gift to Johnny’s Daddy and I and to his grandparents to see how incredibly happy he was on his birthday. Maybe we have found a new birthday tradition.
Happy Birthday sweetie.