Somehow, Bobby's 23rd birthday passed without me getting his birthday post written and up. Given the intensity of things in our autism community and in our real world life, that's understandable, but I can't pass this birthday up.
Bobby got two cakes this year, one at home for just the six of us (we added a 19 year old to our household in October and she baked the cake he's holding up above). We had the Cisco College Anime club over on his birthday and talked anime and planned for the spring and then had cake. And then when my parents were back in town, we celebrated Dad's, Kurt's, and Bobby's birthday like we do every year. It, too, was a yummy cake.
And they were happy as it was an ice cream cake!
Too often, in autism-land, people ("experts" and families alike) think that autistic individuals have reached their potential when they age out of the school system. I don't know why--I can't imagine anyone saying people in general stop growing and learning at the magical age of 18 or 21. Seriously, if they did, I'd be out of a job. Bobby has made his most progress, his most growth in the last two to three years.
He's learning to roll with the punches (and that this is a metaphor and no one is going to punch him nor is he going to have to roll on the floor--the three LOVE metaphors and idioms and picking them apart). He's continued to grow as a cook and I remain forever grateful for that talent of his. He loves cooking and I love letting him take over the kitchen. It's a huge blessing.
His heart has to be one of the biggest and sweetest I've ever seen. He cares deeply and instantly and wants to help. It's one of his best traits (of course it is--it would be one of any person's best traits to have). I used to tell him when I was his teacher, having homeschooled him for a decade, that he needed to let his light shine (using the Christian hymn "This little light of mine" to motivate him and later the girls). He shines brightly, each year more so.
Our Christmas picture with the only Xmas decorations.
He is now 23. It blows my mind to have spent more than half my life as his mother, to see the sweet, kind man he has become. I have to be completely honest, though, and share that our life together is not without its frustrations as we still work hard to communicate effectively with each other. I misunderstand him at times, and talking on the phone with him is definitely ya-ya (thing the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Sandra Bullock's character slamming the phone repeatedly out of frustration and her mother doing the same). The ya-ya moments aren't out of anger, but out of frustration and they're always mental images, but still...I imagine he feels that way too when we just miss making ourselves understood. And yet...it happens every day, several times a day, but he keeps on trying, doesn't let it phase him and I am amazed and honored to be his mother. It has been a life-changing 23 years and he has made me a better person. So, to Bobby, who can never remember how many times he's tried something and is ever surprised, I raise a glass and toast him. May the next 23 years be as inspiring and incredible. One thing I have no doubt: he will continue to grow and learn and amaze me.
If being Bobby's mom has been a heck of journey and an incredible experience, it's all due to being Rick's wife for 24 years today.
How can you not adore this man?
He does my hair! :)
He plants my rose bushes (over 100 at one count).
He volunteers with me.
He laughs and loves me however I am. :)
Although he occasionally looks at me like I've rightly lost my mind.
He paints Tardis doors.
And when it's time to ease a beloved cat's pain,
he holds him and cries as we let the cat go.
And he does it again and again.
And keeps believing that love is worth the pain.
And lets two more kitties in and adores them.
He never wanted six cats, and yet, here we are,
a full, overflowing household.
He may not be the wordiest of men.
Or the most romantic.
But he is honest, faithful, and true.
He loves deeply and completely.
And he believes that when you see a need
and you can do something about it,
After 24 years together, he contines to frustrate and amaze me, often simultaneously. When he discovers something I've bought and placed around the house (our game with each other), I will often hear what I have decided is a laugh of equal parts delight and frustration.
He has given me the greatest gift any one could: unconditional, unreserved love and acceptance. He has helped me overcome challenges and had faith and conviction that we can and do have what it takes to get through any experience. He is my best friend, my confidante, and he makes me laugh and giggle each and every day.
To the perfect husband for me, thank you for sharing this journey with me.