Bittersweet Birthday

Josh's 28th birthday
How many of your birthdays do you remember in great detail?

For me, it’s pretty much the biggies, 16 and 21, because of the privileges that came with them.

Yet, as parents, we try to create THE perfect day every year for our kids. Today, my son Josh, celebrates his 28th birthday.

He has expectations for sure – but they’re not what most 28-year-olds wish for.  First of all, he still relies on me to plan the day.  Most adults his age would not want the family celebration to be the be-all end-all when it comes to parties.

The details he longs for include party hats, his favorite people, and a “rock star” cake.  He doesn’t have a peer group of friends – but he has people who love him and want his day to be special.  If he has chicken and cake, he’s one happy guy.

One of the great blessings that is Josh is his capacity for pure joy.  The little things that most of us take for granted make him so happy.  As a mom, that’s what I call “priceless.”  It takes a lot of the pressure off.

But, birthdays do have a way of bringing the differences to the forefront.  On his sixteenth birthday, we weren’t thinking about getting his driver’s license.  I took him out on his 21st birthday, not his guy friends.  Today, he asked for decorations and party hats – things that most people would not consider “age appropriate.”

This year, I can’t help seeing those differences, mixed with a sadness for the dear friends of mine whose sons were taken from them before they reached the age of 28.  I’m reminded to cherish every moment with my son, appreciate who he is, and try not to compare our lives to what’s considered “normal.”

Ethan Saylor 1/9/87-1/12/13Jaron Ivey 9/1/91-11/15/09

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