My son Brady is about to turn four. He is also starting to soar. He is starting to hit his stride. He is meeting his goals and making progress...little steps every day. He is becoming a four year old. He is soaring to heights we never knew possible.
But, I think, Brady always did. Soaring. Playing. Enjoying life. Those are the themes for this year's birthday celebration for Brady.
I am a big believer in really celebrating birthdays. Making a big deal when your child reaches a new year. Every year is a milestone in our house. Every year deserves a celebration. And I mean a celebration. Over a 100 people at our 1st birthday celebrations and not many less at Brady's last two. We have celebrated with a circus, a firetruck and a farm. I go all out. I love throwing a party, especially when I get to celebrate my children. Especially when I can celebrate all that my son has become and all that he has accomplished.
Brady surprises his family every day with his determination, his love of life's simple things and his ability to astound us. We will celebrate Brady's fourth birthday at Mae Stecker Park with about 50 of Brady's nearest and dearest. We will celebrate at the place where Brady's finds peace and happiness. A place where Brady can just be a four year old-where he can be surrounded by those who love him and climb and run and feel the sun on his smiling face.
That is what year number four is all about. There is a song by Natalie Merchant called "Wonder" that I love. It always reminded me of my younger sister Robin, who is a person with Down Syndrome. I thought the song was written for her. I thought the song spoke to the way I felt about my courageous and inspirational younger sister. She is my idol and I did feel she embodied the words to the song.
Now, many years later, my own special needs child radiates the words and feeling of this song. The words tell a story of belief in the unknown, the unusual and the uncertainty of the world of a special needs child. "I must be one of the wonders-God's own creation." "I believe fate smiled at destiny"and "I laughed she came to my cradle...no this child will be able...this child will be gifted"..these are the words that play in my mind when I look at my remarkable little boy.
My little boy who has struggled from day one. My little boy who has had his share of bumps in the road. My little boy who has dealt with obscure diagnoses, the introduction of insulin shots and the struggle to communicate. My little boy who has defied all the odds, all the obstacles and all the people who said, "he can't." My little boy who has taught us to not say "can't" but instead say, "not yet." My little boy who just makes me smile. My little boy who has brought a type of joy to my life that I cannot describe. My little boy who has amazed me every single day since he entered this world on June 10, 2008, in a blaze of fear and anticipation.
Since October, I have been blogging about my family's journey with a little boy with a very rare chromosome duplication. Many of you have been riding along with me as I write about Brady's struggles, his triumphs, his ups, downs and everywhere in between. You have commented, you have supported and you have stopped me in a restaurant to tell me about your own child with special needs or how much Brady's life makes you appreciate your own children.
I wanted to give all of you who have followed Brady's story at anytime, a little glimpse into his world. A snapshot of his accomplishments, the people who love and support him and yes...his smile. In celebration of Brady's 4th birthday, please take a moment to enjoy the wonder of my remarkable little Brady.
Happy 4th Birthday to Brady! May this year bring more goal reaching, more big steps, more little miracles, more big boy bus rides and more peace. Brady's about to soar! A thank you beyond words to my wonderful friend Nicole Coury at Peanut Productions for all of her hard work, love of my little boy and generosity in this video montage.