Happy birthday to Nicholai!
He’s fifteen today. I don’t even know how to think about this. Usually birthdays make me happy- I shamelessly indulge myself and look at photos and drown in happy nostalgia – but today I feel kind of sad. It’s Nicholai, my brilliant and challenging and extraordinary little bear, and he’s fifteen. He’s so far from the tiny baby and amazing little boy who made me a mother and changed my whole life, and today I miss it. Everything is different now, and it all went by so fast, and I will never have that with him again.
Maybe that’s it. Maybe it’s just that I feel like I will lose him as he grows to adulthood. His Aspergers has always meant that our relationship had to be built around his particular way of thinking and being, and I don’t see that changing. I struggle with the fact that he has never been interested in connecting with me in the way that the other children do, and I am afraid of how this will translate to a relationship with him as my adult child.
I want my children to grow up and have full independent lives of their own. That’s what we are working towards from the day that they are born. First words and first steps, birthdays and school, friends and heartbreaks and triumphs and learning of their own, all of it is to give them the foundation they need to become independent. I want that for them, and I believe in them. But I want to be more than just a phonecall on their birthday and Christmas, and sometimes I wonder if Nicholai will even want me to be that.
I don’t know. I suppose it will work out the way it works out. And so many of the things that made me afraid for the future with Nicholai have worked out so much better than I hoped, that I just have to cross my fingers that this will too. He has never stopped surprising me, never stopped making me breathe deep and thank the fates that I was given the extraordinary blessing of being his mother.
Happy birthday little bear.