When you are a special needs parent days, and especially holidays, can blend into each other. Often, I mark time by the stretch between events to endure or get through. There are those times when you measure your time by the special days on a calendar that you prepare for (or hope to celebrate in some way). Then there are the days that you struggle to get from one hour to the next. However, my birthday seems to be one of those unfortunate days where the magic is lacking and the specialness of the day is that I made it through and have to mark another box on a demographics form.
Last week saw my birthday and Valentine's Day come and go. Pretty much just like that. Days on a calendar. Even my mom didn't send a card. Oh, I was wished a "happy" day but the sentiment seemed as hollow as the day seemed forgetful. My husband ordered a special cake and we ordered out since I really didn't feel like commemorating the anniversary of my existence with a trip to a restaurant where the kids can order from a picture menu. That gets old after the millionth visit. Yet, at the end of the day...it was just another box to mark on the calendar. Valentine's Day definitely lacked any romance or warm fuzzy feelings of love unless you count watching my youngest be completely overwhelmed by his class party as he sat watching everyone else with wide eyes.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not expecting the world or even a parade. But damn it...don't we deserve one day a year to feel special? It's not like I even get Mother's Day. Hallmark doesn't make a special line of greeting cards for us special parents. And the syrupy hollow sentiments in the others can leave you upset that your corner of the world isn't perfect. I keep saying "it is what it is"--but some days are just harder to swallow without a mega dose of artificial sweetener to coax the bitterness down.
Ok, so I sound a little petty and shallow as I look back on this. I'm not asking for a parade. I realize in the grand scheme of things I am considered to be no one special by anyone. I am not making a difference in the world or changing things for the better. I haven't figured out how to cure anything or have created a new therapy that will make life easier for the next set of families who will follow in my shoes. My day was just another in a long line of of endless days that flow into each other until they will stop and I won't have to worry about marking another box again. Same old same old.
Except, shouldn't we have a moment--or gasp, a day-- to recharge and feel like we matter? We are doing impossible things with very little accolades and acknowledgement. We are raising special children who are special not just because the world sees them differently--but because they are important and have meaning for who they are. We respect our children and demand that others do as well. Yes, sometimes we have to do that while reciting regulations like bible verses and controlling urges to go "grizzly" on some less-than-cooperative individual (whoever that may be at the time). Our mundane days are really quite special, quite impressive. We are setting a stage for those who will come in our wake just as we have followed those who formerly blazed trails for their children.
Doesn't that deserve recognition? Doesn't that deserve a parade. Hell, doesn't that merit something more than just a red "X" on the calendar at the end of the day? Maybe next year. I guess I'll go finish that last piece of ice cream cake and pretend it symbolizes more than just the fact that I'm another year older and another year closer to when my boys won't have me to keep track of the days in their calendars. I hope by then, they have someone who will continue to make their birthdays as special as possible so they don't think they are just days on a calendar.