Dream Mom: The Birthdays
Te above post from Dream Mom, about celebrating her son's birthdays, sort of got me thinking. Let me share. :)
She talks about the gratitude you feel when your chronically ill/disabled kid celebrates a birthday, because you got one more year with them. But you also mourn the loss of things that won't happen, and look back on the good things that have occurred. Her son just turned 16, and he's not learning to drive; he's finally sitting in the front seat of the car, because that's where it's easiest to place him.
So I started thinking about my life and the things I've accomplished that most people take for granted, but, at some point, we're supposed to happen, or were in question. Or just normal things that, when you've got a terminal disease, may or may not happen:
1) I got my driver's license
2) I got my first kiss
3) I was engaged to be married, so I've been in love (twice....I think. The in love part, not the engaged part)
4) I graduated from high school
5) I graduated from college--on time! (double major, thank you very much)
6) I have my own apartment
7) I have a real job (with insurance!)
8) I went to prom (sans date, both times, but oh well)
9) I've traveled without my parents :)
10) I'm still here (that counts, right? ha)
11) I can function independent of my parents
12) I can communicate--my mind wasn't affected my CF or any of the other crazy things I've had, and when you read about some kids and their illnesses, believe me, this is a big point.
13) I made fantastic friends
14) I can climb a flight of stairs, yo!
Course those are just off the top of my head. And, of course, there are things I will probably never do--collect Social Security (well, OK, no one in my generation might), join AARP,get married, have kids (my own, biological children). Now, of course, I still want to get married. I haven't become that jaded. And I love children. I would love to have my own. But part of having health issues your entire life is becoming reconcilled to the things that you won't get, or can't have, etc.
Does that make it better? No. But you do have to make peace with it, and be happy for what you can do, and what you have.
This post also reminded me of why I don't understand people who hate celebrating birthdays. You're alive! You're still here! I think we should celebrate that! So many people don't want to get older. I want to hit 30. I want to have an actual mid life crisis at, um, midlife. I want to watch my brother and sister get married and have babies (well, Mel have them, anyway...Bubby's wife'll do it for him. Ha). Every birthday is a big party; every day should be a big party! We're still here! We have another chance to enjoy the great things life has given us, whether it's a coffee break with our officemates or dinner with our friends or a funny movie. Or even finding a good parking space.
So, in the words of Pollyanna's minister, let's "take a little time to enjoy the sunshine. And...think about who's sending it down to you."