He tells me that he wants to be a better person. He tells me how he actually feels. He wants to know about life. He wants to snuggle with me.
Charlie is officially 10 years old.
If you are a newer reader you may not know that Charlie is my oldest boy and you may not know what a warrior he is. What a Sir Chuckles the Courageous, he is. When he was two he was diagnosed with autism and he would prove to be my most difficult child (still). From moment one he made sure we would ALWAYS be on our parenting game whether we were running and leaping like a gazelle or falling and tripping like a 1-legged drunken pirate. In fact, I wouldn’t know babies smiled or didn’t cry all the time until many years later. He had such a hard start to life.
But we watched him grow and we did everything we could for him and with him from every book and every camp with opinions and every therapist and every school out there. And he progressed.
He got better.
He somehow found a way to be his best self, and today he is this smiling, snuggling boy. He still has his struggles but we’re so grateful they’re relegated to a small list that we just know as his parents, and they aren’t things that will make him wonder someday why he couldn’t have a normal life.
He will have a normal life.
I still can hardly believe it.
I’ve had dreams where I see him preaching on the street pleading for people to repent, and it makes me laugh and I’m not surprised by those dreams, as that is his personality. Intense and 1000% dedicated to whatever his passion is, he will either be an epic party planner or a (apparently) preacher. He could write a book right now on work ethic, and he still teaches me a thing (or 20) on a daily basis.
The most surprising development he’s had is how he is with his baby sister. He softens, he empathizes, he relates. When he is near her he truly morphs into someone we never met before she was born. All things that are rather hard for him to normally be good at, he is effortless with her. Her magic is clearly stopped by no man, and their bond makes us shed tears and send up songs of praise.
We often talk about the elements of life (earth, wind, fire, water) and how each of my kids is one of them – it’s their personality. Just like Jamie is SO earth Charlie is SO water. He resonates with our conversations about these things so much that his favorite color is now blue and he thinks of everything through the lens of what a “water person” would think. Water is dark and mysterious, deep, all encompassing, powerful, sometimes still, sometimes quiet. That’s him to a T, and he operates from that perspective. I didn’t know I was teaching them how to be self-aware when I started that narrative in our family but I highly recommend it.
Birthday’s used to be very hard. There was a time when we would sing Happy Birthday to him and he would scream. He’d cover his ears, go into a fit of rage and tantrum and the moment would be robbed for us all. This was a yearly thing, and we knew it would happen and we just wouldn’t sing. Lighting the candles was weird b/c no one was allowed to make a sound. He couldn’t handle the eyes on him, the noise, the singing (he also would scream in the car if we sang or played music or if there was any sound at all).
But friends? I just had to share this video. He’s had better birthdays for a while now, none this fantastic. It might seem totally normal to you (and that’s why it is AMAZING).
You need to see how he handled being sung to this year.
Glory be. Charlie is 10. Happy birthday big man.
(subscribers you may need to click thru to see the video)
I’m linking up with The Parent ‘Hood this week and I’ll begin hosting it next week!