Happy birthday?

Well the birthday weekend has been and gone. I would like to say that all the anxiety is gone, happy memories have been formed and all was well… Of course that wasn’t quite the case. I cried on Charlie’s birthday – sometimes I think that I must carry his sadness as well as my own. I wanted him to wake up and be excited, see the joy on his face opening his presents and feel the normal stresses of a house full of teenagers running a mock and high on Pepsi!
Instead he was angry and frustrated – still unable to grasp that he’d missed his chance of a trip to London.
He refused all offers of presents and announced that it was not his birthday. I don’t normally get upset – I think its generally best to just shrug it off and carry on, but I felt an overwhelming since of grief, loss of the child that he could have been, and once I’d let the tears well up I had no choice but to let them fall.
Charlie never understood birthdays or Christmas the same as other children until a few years ago. The excited anticipation was absent so its even more important to me that now that he has grown to understand these events, that we make them extra special – an attempt to make up for those lost years, but in reality his understanding isn’t normal – and it just makes the disappointment an even bigger fall.
My good friend had just celebrated her daughters 18th birthday the day before, all the stresses of party planning, the usual teenage angsts, and the joy of celebration and ultimately the loving and grateful young person – a privledge that will probably never be with Charlie – a stark reminder that all this sacrifice and burden is indeed thankless. That morning I felt isolated and alone – did anyone really understand. I felt drained of the constant repitition of “we going to london today” “step 1 – dad comes home, step 2 – we go to london, step 3 – we stay at premier inn” over and over and over again.
Of course, I will never stop trying. I will persevere, but sometimes I feel like I’m on a round about, dizzy and sick and I want it to stop and get off, even if just for a while.
So the day continued as ‘normal’ as possible – family came and no one was allowed to mention ‘birthday’ the only present he accepted was a lime jelly and a packet of jelly beans. We had a lovely family BBQ in the garden but Charlie remained in his bedroom for the best of it. No presents, no cake or candles or renditions of ‘happy birthday to you…’
All any parent really wants is for their child to be happy. It really doesn’t matter if they dont have an amazing talent, do bad in their exams or have to fight whatever challenges life might throw at them as long as they are happy. As time passes at an alarming rate, its times like Charlie’s birthday that i think about what his future holds. I’ve started to look at provisions for him in his adult life. After all in just 5 years from now he will indeed be a adult – uncomprehendable really. I have been both horrified and delighted at the options available and whilst those good options fill me with hope and relief, they are far from guaranteed and I  know that I will have to accept that its not going to be an easy ride securing a happy future for him.

So just for the record ‘happy birthday Charlie choo choo! Best wishes and many happy returns – with all my love Mummy xxx


2 thoughts on “Happy birthday?

  1. Chris Miller

    Sara, you’re not doing a thankless job. Where would Charlie be today without the unconditional love, care and support you have given him for his whole life? He wakes up every day secure and thankful for that – he just can’t tell you. He is one lucky boy and you are a special family to care for him. Those of us who have less challenging children will never understand what a “good day” is in the same way as you – I for one hope you see many. Make his next good day his birthday! With love and hugs x


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