Without noticing it, four years have passed since Charlie decided to make his grand entrance into the world. Four entire years. Birthdays are always a little bitter-sweet with a special needs child–knowing where they should be and comparing it with where they are can be a tough pill to swallow. I’m lucky that this year it was easier than the last and I suspect that it will get easier as the years pass.
I can say, without a doubt, that three was the best year yet. So many times I have exclaimed over what a person he’s become and how it is truly enjoyable to spend time with him. School has been incredible at opening him up and letting his personality show itself–granted, it’s not always the cutest personality, but even that is worth celebrating.
Three was the year of communication. He gestures more purposefully, uses his eyes and vocal chords to make a point, he taps to get your attention and motions for help. He is beginning to show signs of being able to communicate using augmentative communication–a door has been cracked and is waiting to be flung open.
Three was a year of affection. When I pick him up from school, he smiles wide. He leans towards others to be held by them. He smiles when you kiss him and throws a hand over you when he snuggles up in bed. He gestures to be picked up when Dad greets him in the evenings.
Three was a year of becoming his own person–he likes ketchup, which no one else in the family eats. He has friends at school that I don’t know and have never met. He manages himself in the world without his mom or dad for hours on end. He likes to turn the TV up loud and if you turn it down, he’ll wait til you leave and then turn it up again. He likes to hold his own spoon or fork although he’s still not good at getting food ON it in the first place.
The baby in him is slowly fading and I adore watching the real him emerge. There really is nothing more amazing than seeing the boy who was locked in his body beginning to emerge.
Do we have things yet to accomplish? Of course. Is it all perfect? Not at all.
But it is good. Very good. And that is more than enough for me.
Happy birthday, Charlie.