Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Another Year Closer to the Empty Nest

Today is my youngest son's 6th birthday. This is our son with autism, and the last 3.5 years with him have been quite a ride. Let's face it - it's going to continue to be.

Seth has accomplished more in his little life than is even imaginable. He works his little mind so hard each and every day just to function in ways that most people take for granted. Many things do not come easily for him. He is faced with people every day who misunderstand much of his behavior.

Up to this point, he has been blessedly oblivious to his differences. However, he's beginning to feel the sting of comparison in his own mind. He's been compensating lately by trying to do things that he doesn't necessarily want to do, but they are things that make him more like the other kids. Sometimes he is satisfied with the result, other times frustration sets in and he becomes self-deprecating. I have heard several times lately, "I look like a fool," "I hate myself," and "I'm the weakest," after playing with his friends outside when they begin riding their bikes (without training wheels) or scooters. Seth's balance isn't developed enough, so when he tries these things they end in frustration for him. His friends are not treating him that way, he is treating himself that way.

Hearing him say these things breaks my heart. He really has no idea how far he has come. He just knows that he still lags behind in some areas and this makes him feel different.

Seth does not eat cake. Or cookies. Or cupcakes. Or anything "treat-like" whatsoever. He'll eat a couple different kinds of candy and that is it. But he so wants to be like the other kids that he asked me to make him a "vanilla" cake with no icing so he can try it. It will be a huge leap if he actually tastes it, but he just wants something to blow candles out on.

We are all so proud of how far he has come. He is officially ushering Sean and me out of the "little child" era of our lives. Seth, however, remains my "snuggle bug" and my "cuddle buddy" and still values our hugs and kisses. For that, I am truly grateful.

Happy Birthday, Seth. I can't wait to see what leaps and bounds you make this year! I know God has more great things in store for you.


  1. Happy Birthday little man. For what it's worth, this stranger is super proud of you!