Our oldest is 9 today and, as parents are prone to asking on days like this - when did this happen? How did this bundle of sweetness get to be this big boy? So, in honor of this day, I present a Birthday Friday Five (kleenex alert!)...
1. The day you were born was a lovely spring day in Saskatoon, SK (that's in Canada, for those who wondered). You took your time getting ready to come, but once you decided, it all happened much more quickly than we anticipated. Grandma and Grandpa who were three hours away almost didn't make it in time for your arrival! And not much has changed - once you decide something is going to be a certain way or happen at a particular time, that's what it needs to be :) And, even though it took longer for you to be able to tell us with words, you are now able to tell us so clearly, and we are thankful (mostly ;) ).
2. You have always had the most amazing smile - pure joy all over your face! Your smiling face was what I kept thinking of when your brother made his arrival a few years later. And your beautiful blue eyes behind those cute "Harry Potter" glasses - when we have those moments of connection, looking right at each other - just awesome :)
3. I love that books have always been your closest companions. Even before you could read, we always had to have your current favorite book along wherever we went. There are several books we have had to replace more than once when they literally fell apart because they had so many "miles" on them. Remarkably we have lost very few, mostly because there would be dire consequences if we did! And now you read and read well. I know it's hard for you to express what you understand from your reading - to me it feels like a key that's missing that would help us unlock all that goes on in your head. But you know what you know, and someday you'll be able to help us know, too.
4. Yes, you have autism. I pray that, as difficult as it makes life some days, that it does not define you. You love to read, travel in the car, play on the Wii with your brother, run hard and long, scramble on the climbers at the playground, hang out with your friends at school and Sunday School, play and learn with your friends and therapists at therapy, listen to music and love on Maggie (the beagle). And you are specially created by a God who loves you more than we ever can - that is who you are.
5. We love you and are so proud of you! God is taking us on an incredible journey together - I am so thankful that God is taking us and we are going together as a family. But I can wait to see where He takes us - these days are going too fast!
Whew, sorry for the intensity. It's just important to say these things sometimes. And now on to the cupcakes and candles!
Have a wonderful Friday and many happy wanderings this weekend!
P.S. For more information about autism, check out Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew: Updated and Expanded Edition - it's a great summary. I also like The Autism Mom's Survival Guide (for Dads, too!) and The Sensory -Sensitive Child: Practical Solutions for Out-of-Bouonds Behavior.