Sometimes when I’m feeling sad about the cards that Brody has been dealt, I press my face against his, close my eyes and wonder what life would have been like for him if he didn’t have disabilities. It usually involves a few sneaky tears. And then he laughs (or head butts me) and I pull myself out of it.
I don’t do this very often anymore, but I admit I venture back into that zone every year when his birthday comes around. It’s a bit like an annual reminder that Brody is physically one age, but cognitively another.
A time when those annoying ‘what ifs’ and worries that I try to keep at arm’s length work their way upwards and remind me that Brody’s life will always be different – harder – and that I wish I could make it easier for him.
A time when I am second guessing what to get him as a present and feeling guilty in case he understands the occasion and is disappointed that I got it wrong.
A time when I dread the moment someone else blows out his birthday candles once again (although his two-year old sister is innocently looking forward to her role in playing this part).
And a time when I feel hugely guilty for every negative thought that enters my mind on what is really a time to celebrate.
Because there is so much to celebrate. I am wasting time on that other stuff.
Tomorrow my boy turns six and I’m so proud of him. Friday 13th January 2012 definitely wasn’t unlucky for us. We are incredibly lucky.
He has taught us so much.
What we’re made of.
What he’s made of (determination, humour and endless snacks in case you’re wondering).
Who we can count on (and how great they are).
And that it’s the simple things that really matter – not the material or trivial (although I sometimes need to remind my overanxious brain of the latter).
I’m grateful that he’s healthy.
I’m grateful for every smile and laugh.
I’m grateful that we can celebrate tomorrow with him – and all of the other days we’re fortunate to have.
And I am grateful that he is ours.
Our perfect boy.