Confession time. I go overboard every year for my son’s birthday. When I say overboard I do not mean that my child becomes spoiled by a raining shower of presents ala Dudley Dursely. My son G is probably one of the most grateful children you will meet. He is truly thankful for each and every gift he receives be it new socks or a pony.
No, by overboard I mean that whatever theme my son chooses I tend to take a Lord of the Rings stance; “You have my blade!”
For example, G’s 4th birthday was a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory theme. So I turned the house into the factory. I really did. We had the main floor where kids went bonkers running back and forth filling bags with various candies. There were giant candies and lollipops lining the walls. A tree with balloons that once popped exploded with candy. A bubble room overflowing with balloons and bubbles. And themed foods galore.
G’s 6th birthday was Batman/Super hero the ed. Kids dressed as superheros and battled super villians like the Joker and Mr. Freeze. We captured them in giant bubbles and set up a photo booth station so children left with a photo of themselves in costume captured by Mr. Freeze. There was a Batcave in the yard and again, tables overflowing with themed food.
I know what you’re thinking. “How the hell does she afford this?” The truth is that I live on a very limited budget. I caught costs by making everything from decorations to costumes and food. I make the pinatas, the signs, the invitations, and some years when I have my s#$t together, even the cake. I start planning two months in advanced, I also get people involved.
“It takes a village to raise a child”, there is so much truth in those words. I plead, bargain, and bribe family members and friends. I get EVERYONE involved. When G’s birthday is coming, no one is safe or relieved from duty.
Why do I always go big around birthday time? Because my child deserves it.
At 7 years old G has undergone 15 surgeries. He has had a shockingly large amount of hospitalizations, appointments, physical therapy, visiting nurses, doctors poking and prodding him, and taken it all with an easy going additude. Not only has he gone through more proceedures than the average adult, G’s father, an army veteran, passed away suddenly when he was 5. This was a devastating loss for both of us. No child should ever suffer the loss of a parent.
When you are the mother to a child with special needs, sometimes you can feel guilt. Even when there is absolutely no way you did anything to cause the disability, you feel guilt. After all you carried the child for 9 months, or 7 1/2 in my case, and you always wonder “Was it that one time I pumped my gas?” “Was it when I ate that sushi?” “Maybe I shouldn’t have dyed my hair!” You always blame yourself.
I know that part of me has to make a big deal out of G’s birth because it could so easily be a somber event. All the memories of living at the hospital after G’s birth, the procedures he went through at such a young age, being unable to explain to a 3 month old why his chest hurt, it is haunting.
The general public has no idea what parents of children with disabilies go through on a daily basis. And how could they know? The idea of babies who are not born perfect is foreign concept to society. Babies are cute, and little , and perfect. No parent dreams of giving birth to a child with special needs.
And if a child starts to have many procedures the people around them get used to it. By the 7th surgery, no outside family or friend shows concern. The idea is no longer scary, because they can step back. It is not their child. They’ve made it through before fine, the child will make it through again.
As a parent I can assure you, the first surgery is still just as frightening and nerve racking as the 15th. I will let you know when we hit number 16 if anything changes.
The parents of special needs children are brave. We put on smiling faces. We brick up the pain and fear behind large walls. We tremble underneath hoping no one sees how upset we are, how terrifiying it is to tell your child they need another proceedure when all you want is to protect your child from going through any more pain.
Now I make up for it all, once a year by making my son’s dream come true just one day.
This year the theme is Doctor Who and I have sworn that there will be a Tardis there, be it wood or cardboard. My search moved towards the internet, and I placed the following ad on Craigs List.
Because of this ad, 5 amazing Doctor Who Cosplayers are coming to help make G’s birthday an incredible one. I took a risk, and I couldn’t be happier with the results. I am so thankful for the wonderful people who will be volunteering their time. I am sure this will be the best party G has ever had.
Today G and I continue to prepare for the party.
I have been making red bow tie pins for all the guests, and G and I both made clay pen sonic screwdrivers for examples at the party. As we made the screwdrivers we watched Goosebumps and talked about G’s dad. I couldn’t be more thankful for my life. Right now it is absolutely perfect.