The Adoration of the Christ Child

The Adoration of the Christ Child
See if you can spot why I like this image

Everything in its Right Place

A blog about disability, life, parenting, and learning what it means to live well in this world.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Marking the days

I haven't been so good at keeping up with the blog this week, and sadly cannot point to any amazing scientific discoveries, adventures in far-away lands, or even stellar cleaning binges to account for my silence. I think really, life as it's lived daily is just too occupying, and to sit down and write about it somehow makes me feel distant from living it. I prefer to watch the boys, go to the park, cook some food (occasionally), remark on the weather or do nothing at all rather than sit and ponder things on the computer. That, or I'm just too lazy to stay up past their bedtime and too brain-dead to remember what happened an hour ago!

At any rate, today I have been pondering Adam's birthday, which is coming up on Sunday. I have been asked a couple of times if he knows it's his birthday. I am pretty sure the answer to that question is no, though I don't doubt that when I set a cake in front of him and we all sing Happy Birthday to him, he might connect that activity to himself in some way. But as for understanding "Hey, I've passed another year on this Earth. I'm seven now. Cool," I don't think those thoughts will occur to him. I hate to sound like I'm writing him off, but for Adam, personal reflection does not seem to be part of his repertoire. I like that about him, that he doesn't spend time--or doesn't seem to--seeing who is watching him, wondering what they are thinking about him, or worrying about how much or how well we will celebrate him on his birthday. For him it's another day to play and be with us, and lo and behold--Cake!

The slight downside to all this, however, if I'm being honest, is that I have to reorganise in my own head what celebrating a birthday means. If Adam couldn't care less about presents, will eat cake if I feed it to him (with custard, please) and does not ask for any special favours to mark "his special day", then what exactly does it mean to have a birthday at all? In the usual sense, we ask kids what they want, figure out what will make them happy, and get that for them to open and enjoy for hopefully longer than a day. But what does Adam want? I asked Caleb this question, and he had some good ideas, but we both agreed that what Adam ever really wants is to go to the park, or swimming, or run naked along the beach into the water and back. Ok, seems easy enough to handle that.

But I still found myself feeling that Adam would be missing out--or I would be shortchanging him--if he had no presents at all. So Caleb and I traipsed to the store to find something for Adam, and we actually did pretty well. But my thinking behind it, and what I asked Caleb to do, was think of things Adam can understand and manage, and double check that with the second question: "would you play with this with him?" It seemed to work well, and I found myself more pleased than usual with the prospect of not only giving something to Adam in the traditional sense, but hopefully engendering an opportunity for them to interact together. I won't tell you what we got him though until after Sunday--it's his birthday, of course!

So, I reorganise my head thus: Adam's birthday is an opportunity for us to look back and remember the amazing night/morning he came into the world, to be ever grateful for all that he's come through in his tough little life, to review photos and movies from last August and see how far he's come in a year (about 3 inches far, to be exact!), and to be glad for today to be with him and enjoy all seven of his years at once. Gifts, fine. Cake, great. But what's special is that we have the chance to love and celebrate people at all in our own fumbling ways.

by the way, some photos attached from last year so you too can enjoy the progress.


Amie V said...

steph, i think that's a fabulous way to look at any birthday. i'm going to 'steal' it and use it myself, reorganise my own head about it. =)

Stephanie Brock said...

You go girl!! BTW, when's our coffee?? :)