Today is Nathan’s 6th birthday. The weather is surprisingly similar to what it was the day he was born – overcast, drizzly, and chilly. He was born in the “middle of the night” according to my husband, who also complains that I can’t have a baby at a “normal” time of day. Nathan was born at 5:40 a.m. and Eric at 3:16 a.m. I don’t know what he’s complaining about. At least I have them in a few hours, so we’re not up for 2 or 3 days!
Birthdays are alternately joyful and sad for us. Of course, we’re joyful at all the milestones he’s met, but also saddened at the ones that seem so far out of reach. It’s always hard to not think of the things he “should” be doing and celebrate all the wonderous things he is doing.
I joined a Yahoo! group for Parenting Autism and as much as it is support from the only people who really know what a day is like, it is also eye-opening. Nathan is (comparitively) high functioning, so much that we’ve taken for granted a few things that some other parents are still dreaming of.
So, to celebrate his 6th Birthday, let me tell you only the wonderous things he’s accomplished in 6 short years:
Nathan is potty trained. He is nearly independent in the bathroom unless he’s wearing “tricky” pants. It’s a difficult skill, especially with motor-planning problems getting in the way, but he’s mastered it.
Nathan talks in full sentences and while he is still difficult to understand, we generally know what he wants. I can tell you that 3 years ago, I wasn’t sure we’d ever hear his voice.
Nathan can dress himself. He can’t do snaps, buttons or zippers, but pull on clothes are easy for him now. I didn’t think this was possible even 1 year ago.
Nathan is loving, has a friend or two and is learning to make friends, engage another person and play cooperatively. He has a long way to go, yes, but he is trying.
I can’t believe that 6 years ago, he decided that I would be the best choice for his Mom. I truly believe that God chose Neil and I to parent him. I never thought I could handle such a challenge and know that I definitely did not sign on for it. I still don’t understand why He chose us, surely there were better, more equipped, more patient people. But what I do know is that I am a better person because I am his mom.
So, happy birthday baby. Thanks for helping me grow.