Friday, January 20, 2012

Dear Norrin: A Birthday Letter from Mother to Son

Dear Norrin,

Today is your 6th birthday.  It's official - you're a big kid now, no longer a baby.  The years are going by too quickly and I wish I could slow things down.  I wish I could press pause every once in a while.  But I can't. 

Today you are six; then next you'll be seven and before we both know it - you'll be a man.  But I'm not ready to think about that just yet.  

I want to linger in this moment for as long as I can.

This morning you woke up 2:30 am.  All smiles and eye contact.  And luckily your dad was able to put you back to sleep quickly.  And then when it was time to wake up, I asked you what day it was.  And you said "It's my birthday."

And all week long you've been talking about your birthday.  This is the first year, you've done that. 

It's also your first birthday that falls on the day you were actually born.  You were born on a Friday, so in my mind this makes today extra special.

I have spent the last 6 years watching you in amazement.  I remember bringing you home that Sunday 6 years ago and watching you sleep in your crib.  And I remember the first time you crawled out of that crib. 

I remember waiting anxiously for first words.  For a while, I thought they may never come.  But they did.  And I hang on your every word, even if I don't always understand what you are saying.  I hear you.   

I know that things don't come easily for you.  I know that there are things you find difficult and frustrating.  But you will find a your own time.  Because every day you do something that you didn't do the day before.  Every day you surprise me.  Inspire me.  And amaze me.  All the progress you have made - I see it.
And I am so proud of the boy you're growing up to be.

Tonight we will light your candles and cut a cake.  You'll tear open your presents.  Maybe you'll make a wish.  If you do, I will probably never know what it is.  And when you play with your toys, you may not know how to say which one is your favorite.  I'll know just by your smile. 

You are too young to understand this now.  But one day you will read this.  And I want you to know that you are the greatest wish I could have ever hoped for.  And the best gift I've ever been given.   

With all my love,

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own.  And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.
    Dr. Seuss, Oh The Place You'll Go! 

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AutismWonderland - written by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez - is a personal blog chronicling a NYC family's journey with autism, while also sharing local resources for children/families with special needs.