Monday, May 9, 2011

Bright Knight

My son will turn 7 next week.

If you are a parent, you know how that can sentence can spin me into a dizzying stupefaction.

If you are a special needs parent, you know that sentence comes with the onus of ... duhn duhn duhn... deciding how to celebrate.

I almost feel like I should just rest my overwhelmed head in my two hands in a dark corner and not come out until he turns 21 and I can just buy him a beer or something.

My beautiful, charming, funny, complicated, sensitive, loving, challenging, delightful boy will turn seven next week no matter how much that shocks and exhausts me, and he simply and absolutely deserves to be celebrated, so I am trying my level-headed best to get it together and throw him a... a... (ohholycowamicrazyorwhat)...a party.

See, he doesn't want to go to Disneyland this year. He cannot be distracted and deterred by bribes of rides and slides and pricey tickets and the Fast Pass. This year, he totally gets it that it's his birthday and he gets to call the shots. First, I thought he told me that he wanted a "night party." Well, he's also been telling me he how much he likes the girls and how he likes the "sassy" way they walk, and I thought he envisioned himself in high school musical or something. Then his sister translated. "No! He wants a party in 'SHINING ARMOR' mommy!" Oh! So much more age appropriate! And so it became the plan.

My knight has invited his whole first grade class, and his pals from social skills, and a neighbor, plus I threw in a few ringers who I know love us enough to show. I think I hand wrote 40 invitations about a week ago, then I did an evite. We have 3 RSVPS so far. Good enough. I spent part of my weekend creatively solving the problem of how to make a knight theme work with no weapons or potential calamities or law suits, and then I handed my paycheck over to Oriental Trading, Amazon, and Castle Park. Next up, I will find our metropolis' finest nut free, gluten free, casein and soy free, chocolate treat that can be designed in the shape of a castle or dragon or what-have-you.

All I know is this.
Autism might be hard, and I might hate parties, and I might dread the unanticipated surprises that are likely to occur, and why exactly do kids parties have to cost more than my savings for retirement, BUT...
I can still vividly remember birthdays one and two and three... they are microscopically tattooed within my wrinkles... and they were hard, and I was scared, and my boy didn't want to celebrate. It wasn't fun. He didn't play with his friends. I wondered if he would ever be happy. I wondered if we would make it. Nothing felt right, and autism seemed to rain our parties out. And so we stopped having them.
And here we are. This year, my boy wants a party, and he wants to have fun, and he wants his friends to come. Some things stink, but some things feel kind of right. It's drizzling now, but the forecast calls for sunny skies again soon. We have a lot to celebrate.

Seven years ago, I carried around a gigantic belly full of a boy only I could hold, a secret joy all for myself. Seven years ago next week, I got the best birth day present, my very favorite boy, and I had to figure out how to start sharing him with the world. We have been on a journey together, a journey that I try to learn from an understand each and every day as best I can.

And so I will not rest my overwhelmed head in my two hands in a dark corner next week. I will stand beside Sir Rooster, and together we will slay dragons. And play miniature golf. And celebrate.

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