Now, I Am 35

Now, I am 35. Officially, at 11:55pm (August 15). A few things have crossed my mind today.

1. I will get what I HAVE to get done today and then I will do nothing but enjoy myself.

I rarely take a day off from everything. The guilt isn’t worth the lazy. Today I felt vindicated in do so. One day a year I let myself off the hook. I’m not saying I’m not lazy more than I should be, but this is the one day I don’t beat myself up about it.

2. I’m half-way to 70.

Thirty-five years has gone by and I’m supposedly an adult. I still don’t feel like it. I wonder if I ever will. A lot of days, 16 doesn’t seem like it was almost 20 years ago and that makes me worry that I’ll blink and the next 35 years will go by without me noticing. I have what I feel like is an abnormal awareness of my mortality. Not sure if it’s a residual effect of being deeply depressed for the majority of my life where I thought about life and death a painful amount, but it’s always there. It can make me overly-anxious about all the projects I can’t find the time to get done, the people I don’t make the time to see, the dreams I have yet to realize.
So, I’m making a plan, because that’s what I do. I want to accomplish more in these next 35 years. Realistic goals seem like a good start. A healthier lifestyle is in the cards as well. There’s no knowing what’s down the road, but I’m hoping for a fulfilling drive.

3. My Biological Clock is Winding Down

After years of being asked if I was going to have kids, getting married and then basically being EXPECTED to have them, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Most people seem to think being over 30 means you’re past your baby-having prime. That’s absolutely not true. Even at 35, it’s not too late. However, I’ve made the choice not to have any kids so this school of thought can only be beneficial. I’m so over hearing that I should have kids, that I should want to. I’m guessing that as the questions of when will I will be replaced with why I didn’t. Guess it’s time to formulate a new response.

4. I’m Very Lucky

After all this time, I’ve been lucky enough to stumble onto some pretty fantastic people. Other than my mom, brother, and grandma, my family hasn’t been close. I’ve supplemented with an amazing husband and great friends. I hope to hold onto them for the duration because without love and friendship, living to 70 won’t mean much.

I’ve learned a lot in 35 years. Mostly because over half that time was spent in school. But the valuable life lessons that smack you in the face in your 20’s are indispensable, turning 30 humbling. I’m looking forward to making some changes and setting into motion the next, hopefully best years of my life.

~L~

To My Craft Wife, On Her Birthday

Today, as you are wished well for your birthday, take the sentiment to heart. Enjoy the little moments you observe so well, soak up the chance at another year. Try not to let your woes overwhelm you and remember that we all love you. Remember that despite the pain and the loss, the strife that seems set on taking you down, you’re still standing. And you are who you are largely because of these trials. Never doubt the impact you have on others and the inspiration you represent in the hearts of your children, family, and friends. Happy Birthday, Craft Wife!

Happy Birthday, fellow immature, mature person! Here's to another year of ridiculousness!
Happy Birthday, fellow immature, mature person! Here’s to another year of ridiculousness!

~L~

A Very Happy Birthday Little Buddy

image

It’s a quarter till eight in the evening and three of my children surround my husband in our living room. Each are taking turns blowing out a birthday candle and singing the Birthday Song. My special needs son is singing his very best version of the song and inserting various family member’s names into the chorus. No one is celebrating a birthday today, no one is celebrating a birthday this week but we are celebrating.

My son has struggled with autism for the last five years. For the first two years after his primary diagnosis, he was not diagnosed with autism despite his self-injurous behavior. As he grew, additional autistic behaviors became more evident. It was clear he was having a hard time dealing with the world around him. From a terrible experience at Disney World to family gatherings, he was unable to tolerate loud noises and crowds. Birthday parties were the worst, even his own. He didn’t like singing or clapping and the appearance of a birthday cake sent his anxiety skyrocketing. We decided after many attempts to encourage him to participate, we would leave the room with him during the singing and blowing out of the candles. It was hard for some family members to understand this when we celebrated his birthdays but we found other ways to acknowledge his special day.

Since the addition of a new medication to treat his disease, we have slowly seen developmental progress. He has been on it for over two years and his language has improved, he has gained some understanding of the world around him, and he has been able to tolerate noise and crowds much better. We will never be able to redo our vacation…. but we can help him enjoy those experiences he once missed out on.

Last Christmas my son was six and it was the most amazing Christmas with him yet. He was interested in opening gifts where he hadn’t been before, he was excited about the Christmas lights, and he was able to sing us numerous songs he learned at school. It was a holiday of many celebrations. We also noticed he began to enjoy birthday parties and we were stunned when he refused to leave the room for the birthday song. We expected tension and got excitement. So on his seventh birthday, one he shares with one of his little sisters, we made up for the previous years. He was very excited to open gifts on his own, socialize with family, and blow out the birthday candles after singing the Birthday Song. We sung and blew out the candle six times. He was excited each time.

Disability can take these kind of moments away, little moments most people may take for granted. Experiencing these once seemingly unobtainable moments is where I find joy. I cried when I watched him independently write his name, watched in amazement as he sat peacefully playing with toys he has never touched, felt my heart jump in excitement as he ran upstairs to get the Barbie car out of his sisters’ room so he could play with them. It’s those moments when I can let go of the worry and see the little boy under the disease. It’s the little boy who likes the color purple, who loves trucks (he was recently able to verbalize this to me), enjoys watching and playing bowling, loves everything Barbie, and is wonderful just the way he is. It’s time for the world to stop pointing out the same mundane differences. Experiencing deep joy with someone usually happens when we accept and celebrate one another just the way we are, even if it means celebrating the little things that give us that joy together. Happy birthday little buddy!

*d*