Three years ago today I was sitting in the Women's Hospital in Winnipeg. It was my birthday and I'd just given birth to my third son, Aidan. He was fresh and new and I loved him, and I worried over him, and I understood that our lives would change. I wrote everything in a notebook. Every doctor, social worker, nurse who's words mattered, I wrote them down. It helped a lot to feel I had some control - even if it was only in the formation of letters on a page.
I was hopeful. Something deep inside of me believed that this little guy was meant to be in our family - completely. I had great hope that he would help us to be a better family. Better people. Help me to be a better person. A better mother. While at the same time, knowing that I'm not better than my neighbour because my son has special needs - I only compare myself to my own self, and that is all.
Today, Aidan played with balloons and felt tremendous joy. He sat at the table and ripped up a pita into little crumbs and he listened to our conversation. He refused to eat cake. He refused to lick icing. He was excited to get two Elmo DVD's. He was happy to take Charlie for a walk. He sat on my knee while we blew out candles. He wore a play cowboy hat when we went to the park. He yelled at me when I tried to put him to bed for a nap. He pulled things off shelves at the pet store. He met an 11 year-old boy with Down syndrome, and stared sleepily at his parents. He dozed in the car on the way home.
Today, I turned 41. I got an Elmo cake; and I wouldn't have it any other way.