Birthday Dreaming

Last week I was at a meeting in Chicago for work.  I’m actually very fortunate that I pretty much like the travel I have to do for work, and this particular trip was no exception.  Although I hate being away from Pete and the boys, I enjoy the people I get to meet, the boards I sit on, and the work that we get to do.  Not trying to be too corny here, but the point is I kinda like what I do. 

Well, anyway, this particular meeting was for an advisory board for one of our largest vendors.  An interesting concept that I think more service or product providers should consider.  These folks actually want to know the thoughts and opinions of their corporate clients and invest the time and resources to get them together to learn what everyone wants and needs.  And they make sure we have a good time outside of the serious work discussions.  We spent one afternoon in a torrential downpour learning about the architectural history of Chicagofrom a boat on the Chicago River.  Sure, it would have been better to have taken the dry-tour option, but it made us really appreciate the beautiful weather for the Cubs game we went to on day #2. 

We really couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful June day for baseball in the world’s greatest park.  It was a Thursday afternoon game, and the suite we were in was actually just under the scoreboard bleachers, so we were able to venture out to watch the game with some great die-hard Cubs fans.  (Didn’t hurt that they beat Milwaukee 12-7, either!)

At one point, just after a group of us moved outside, one of those rather obnoxious fan photographer people moved into the area and started pushing people to pose for their exorbitantly priced pictures (seriously?  $53.99 for the download?).  We (mostly) passed on the opportunity, but did get to see some pretty cute shots taken of the crowd.  There was one picture, in fact, that struck me as so sweet that it just needed to be one of those pics that you find already in the plastic sleeve when you get a new wallet.  Dad and son, both blond, tanned, and totally happy in matching Cubby blue logo t-shirts, with sunglasses raised to their foreheads, were smiling the same wide grin for the camera.  I heard the photographer ask if they were at the game celebrating anything special, and son proudly declared that it was his “fift birtday,” and his daddy had brought him to the game for his special day.

And then it just hit me like a ton of bricks.  I was, all at once, terribly sad and completely enraged.  I know it’s not a very logical emotional reaction to what was truly a beautiful sight and heartwarming exchange.  But it was one of those can’t-help-how-I-feel moments.  We’re just a few short weeks away from Sam’s fifth birthday and I can’t imagine Pete being able to take him to enjoy one of the purest forms of entertainment a father and son can share.  He can’t have ballpark food (gluten filled goodness).  He doesn’t understand the game (would LOVE to be on the field chasing the ball).  And he certainly wouldn’t sit to watch three hours of baseball (ok – that’s not necessarily just an autism trait).  I was overwhelmed with sadness that he won’t ever experience a “fift birthday” like that with Dad.  Then I was just beside myself angry because it’s so unfair that he won’t.

And then I was totally ashamed.  See, the next brick to hit me was the one that told me to remember how fortunate we really are in this whole autism world.  I have met so many brave parents (and perhaps even braver kids) that would give just about anything to have what we DO have with Sam and his brothers.  Sam is talking more and more – and actually engaging in rudimentary conversations.  He is attending a fabulous ABA school that is helping him make great progress in life and social skills, as well as academics.  He plays with his school friends.  He plays with his brothers.  And his brothers love him.  He gives hugs and melts your heart when he says “I love you.”  Thanks to the guidance of some great new friends and a wonderful doctor-advocate, his health is improving.  The other night when Ben pulled the car into the garage for the first time, he clapped and said “good job Ben!”  (Ben driving is the topic of a whole lot of other blog posts, by the way.)  We have so much to be thankful for with him that THAT is where my focus should have been.  We are blessed with family and friends who support us. 

So … I quickly got over myself and decided to try to keep focused on the steps ahead.  So what if Sam’s fifth birthday won’t be ballparks and birthday cake … and maybe not the sixth or seventh, but someday… we’ll keep going in hopes that someday it will be.

7 comments on “Birthday Dreaming

  1. Karla, you are allowed to feel bad every once in awhile about the things that may or may not ever be. Yes, you are very blessed and you have a wonderful little boy, well, all your boys are wonderful, including the biggest boy you are married to. But that doesn’t mean we don’t feel regret or even a little envious when we see something that we realize might never happen between Pete and Sam. On the other hand, it just might. NEVER under estimate the power of prayer and healing.You just keep on keeping on. You are doing a great job. I look forward to your blogs.

  2. Karla,This brought tears to my eyes. Nicely written, my friend. Hugs!

  3. We saw Sam and his Daddy at the park last weekend. He sure isn’t afraid of the big slides…he was having a blast! 😉

  4. Thank you, my dear friend … Love and miss you!

  5. Thanks for the kind words Vicki – you are absolutely right … and we will keep working and praying.  We are truly blessed to have the church family that we do and can’t tell you how much the prayers and good thoughts mean to us every single day.

  6. Oh my goodness, Lacey!  Sam soooooo loves the park.  Any park.  EVERY park.  Now, I can’t quite say the same for Daddy (or me, for that matter) but it’s so nice to see him enjoying himself the way he does!

  7. I couldn’t have said it any better than Vicki did. I just love that little boy and every time I see him, he brings a smile to my face. There is nothing better than getting him laughing. He is so precious, and I am thankful to have gotten to know him over the past few years. ❤

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