Today’s post is written by my husband, Al. He posted this on Facebook a few days ago for our daughter’s birthday. I made just a few minor edits and added photos.
We received replies that surprised in many ways. My own reply is at the end of this post.
Thank-you, Al, for your loving words to our precious, funny girl. – Cathy
Today is our daughter’s birthday. She is 17. As always, it is just another day for her. Unlike the rest of us, she has no comprehension of birthdays, Christmas, or any other holiday, but she is very happy today because I let her do our same repetitive game over and over and over again, all morning long.
I then took her to Target and let her get whatever she wanted. She chose a Sesame Street Valentine card from the greeting card section and a Sesame coloring book (she does not get it for coloring). While waiting in the checkout line she picked up a bag of plain M&M’s (she never wants to eat them, she just likes the sound the bag makes when she shakes it).
On the way home I pick up lunch. When we got home she did the usual, she threw away the M&M’s, card and book into our garbage can outside.
I gave her half a sandwich. I had to cut it into small pieces since she doesn’t know how to bite, a little bit of fries, and apple slices. I also cut up the apple.
She finished eating, put her dish in the sink, came to me and got my hand (that’s how she tells me she wants something) and took me upstairs to her room. Whenever she wants to go to sleep, one of us has to go with her and put her to bed. She kissed me and then laughs as she gets under her comforter.
I look at my watch as I walk out of her room (it’s 2:00pm CST). Greeeat, she’ll probably sleep for 3 hours and be up late tonight, but so what, it’s her birthday.
We have to deal with a lot of medical and legal issues (TOO MANY TO LIST WITHOUT EXPLANATION) for her this year. Our daughter will be a legal adult in a year, yet still severely and low functioning autistic, and disabled for speech delay. She is very much still a child in behavior and she can’t communicate verbally. The most important issue will be starting the long legal process of gaining Guardianship when she turns 18. Unless she makes some drastic advancements, our daughter will be living with us the rest of her adult life.
Cathy and I give her the gift of love everyday. So it is important to us to give this gift of Guardianship on her 18th birthday, whether she understands this or not, because to us we are giving her a gift of devotion.
Happy Birthday Mija, we love you, Mom & Dad.
My reply to all the responses Al received:
I was a bit out of commission yesterday but am feeling better today, thus my late response.
Thank-you to all for your comments. Statements like this are often surprising to us because what Al expressed is just a typical day for us.
Al and I are ordinary folks. We have a special daughter. I call her the pure of heart because she simply is who she it. No pretense. If she’s happy you will know it. If she’s not happy, you will know it.
She will teach you to immediately live in the moment.
Al and I believe the most important thing we can do for our daughter is to love her, be her advocate and be her voice.
It’s also important that we support each other in whatever way we can. We always look out for one another. Even though life can be stressful, we try to laugh whenever we can. Those of you who know us know there is much laughter in our home.
That being said, we’re also realistic, practical people. Always have been. We chuckle when we see the simplicity of what makes our daughter happy vs. other people her age. i. e. think gadgets, electronics and other trappings.
We have other challenges to deal with because of her limitations. That being said, there is no limit to the love that she can express. She is an incredible person and we are grateful she is ours.
…and yes, she is a blessing. We know that. Every day.
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