The pile of presents were wrapped, the balloons were blown up, the ‘Happy Birthday’ banners were hung, a birthday cake had been made and an excited soon to be 3 year old was fast asleep in bed. There was a happy buzz in the air as we looked forward to celebrating a very special person’s birthday. We were excited to see the look on their face when they saw the brand new bike we had bought and a trip to the zoo was sure to go down well. The day would be full of memories from the past 3 years of their life, reminiscing about the birth of our not so little girl.
The one present had been wrapped, the balloons were blown up, a birthday cake had been bought and a bowl of jelly had been made (despite knowing they would never get eaten) A soon to be 3 year old was fast asleep in bed oblivious to what tomorrow would mean. There was uneasy buzz in the air, a feeling of sadness and dread. We were nervous to see how they would react to the present, would they be upset by the sound of the paper being unwrapped? Would they taste any of the cake or jelly that has been made or would it be met with tears and gagging? Would the trip to the beach go down well or would the feel of the sand upset them? Would they get angry and want to come home? The day would be full unwanted memories from the past 3 years, reminders of times that we would rather forget about our not so little boy.
The build-up to Freddies birthday hadn’t been too bad this year. I hadn’t felt sad or upset like I had with his 2 previous birthdays. We had been so busy relocating to Cornwall that I hadn’t had much time to dwell on his fast approaching birthday. I hadn’t had time to sit and think about how severely delayed Freddie still was and how every day he continued to fall further and further behind where he should be.
It wasn’t until he night before his birthday when that the feeling of sadness hit me. It made me realise how differently Evies and Freddie’s birthdays are.
It had been a hard day with Freddie, a day full of awful meltdowns and non-stop crying. Freddie had spent most of the day pinching, scratching and clawing at my skin, not on purpose to try and hurt me but it is just something that he does without realising when he gets upset. I was relieved to put Freddie to bed that night and finally get a break from him.
Once he was in bed I sat down with Evie to get Freddie’s one, ridiculously overpriced, specialist toy wrapped despite knowing that Freddie wouldn’t be able to unwrap the toy in the morning. We blew up some balloons for Freddie and laid out all his cards despite knowing he would pay no attention to them. We had been out to the shops that evening and Evie helped pick out a chocolate caterpillar cake for Freddie and we made some jelly, despite knowing that the chances of him eating any of it would be very slim. We picked out some pirate candles to go on Freddie’s cake despite knowing he would never be able to blow them out.
This was when it hit me, the excited buzz we normally feel before Evie’s birthday was missing. I sat looking at Freddie’s little pile of presents with a pain in my heart and tears in my eyes.
I try massively hard not to dwell on Freddie having developmental delays and as a family we try to remain positive and happy but Freddie’s birthday will always be a reminder of the day our life’s drastically changed.
Despite this we had a good day. We bought Freddie an activity center toy which has lots of parts on the he can spin (his favourite thing to do!) and he had lots of other presents from family and friends. He also got enough money to hopefully allow us to buy him a specialist swing seat for the garden. As expected Freddie never opened his own presents or cards and never blew out his candles or ate any cake or jelly but hes very lucky to have a big sister who was happy to help.
Once the sadness had past I spent some time reflecting on how well Freddie has done this past year, his main achievement has been learning to bum shuffle. He doesn’t have it easy with all his health problems and as a family we are so proud of everything he does and we are now excited to see what the next year will bring for Freddie.
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