HAPPY BIRTHDAY SIDNEY & RYAN!
That’s right….tomorrow, October 7th, is a big day around our house. Sidney will be 14 yrs old, and Ryan turns double digits, the big 1-0. I will never forget how upset I was that Ryan was going to be born on Sidney’s 4th birthday thinking he was ruining her day. But now that things turned out as they have, she relishes that they get to share their special day. I can hear her in her room right now talking to Ryan who is sitting on her bed. She is singing to him and telling him all about tomorrow and how special of a day it will be. She’s talking about where we should go out to eat for dinner and asking where he wants to go, telling him he is turning double digits and asking him if he thinks his para and teachers are going to do anything special for him at school tomorrow. He is such a good listener and never argues or disagrees when Sidney picks a restaurant. She picked chocolate zucchini cake for their dessert, and he didn’t argue with that one either, nor did he care that she doesn’t want birthday donuts this year but instead wants her candle in a pile of pancakes. One of them gets to celebrate turning a year older and enjoy the day being just about her; the other has absolutely no idea he is turning a year older nor is that a concept he can even begin to grasp. As the years go by, the emotions of this one short day that rolls around every year become more and more conflicting. There is a chasm in my heart on this one day.
We get to celebrate the beauty of a young woman turning fourteen tomorrow. She is beautiful inside and out, and the love of Jesus radiates through her life. She is energetic, helpful, fun loving, competitive, caring, passionate, intuitive and social. She knows what everyone should be doing at any given time and can run this household all by herself. She is the substitute administrator of this house and loves responsibility. And she’s very good at it too. For years now she has been the mini care taker of all three of her brothers and makes sure the older ones are up and moving every morning when she doesn’t see them upstairs by 7 am or a little after. She knows just where to find the antibiotic ointment when one of them needs it, where the nail clippers or pliers or highlighters are hiding, how to find a recipe for this or that, how many ibuprofen to take when one of them has a headache, where and when everyone needs to be out of the house to get to practice or a friends or a church event. And it’s not that we ask these things of her. She does them because she loves it, because she loves her brothers, because she is a natural born care taker. But aside from that gentle, thoughtful side, she is also very social and loves time with her friends. It is music to my ears to hear her laughing and talking and having fun with her friends behind the closed door of her room. She hates drama and is very picky about who she lets into her inner circle. And while that circle is small by choice, she is fiercely loyal to those who get to take a piece of her heart in their hands. I’m so very proud of the young woman my Sidney is becoming and can’t wait to see what God has planned for her future. She loves Philippians 4:13 which hangs on her bedroom wall ~ “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. My Sidney, I love you beyond words, sweet girl of mine, and I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of the beautiful young lady you are. It is a privilege to be your mom and I hope you know how very loved you are by all three of your brothers and both your dad and me too. Happy birthday sweet girl!
And my youngest, the baby of the family. I just don’t know where to begin with him. My heart is torn between celebration and grief. It’s been a tough few weeks for some reason and the sorrow I feel is still spilling out, even overflowing into his birthday celebration. But every year is hard. Birthdays are suppose to be about celebrating another year of growth, maturity, learning new things, expanding horizons and seeing kids grow and change. But Ryan’s birthday never seems like much of a celebration to me. Oh sure we sing happy birthday, take his picture on the counter every year sitting next to his only sissy under the birthday banner. But he doesn’t understand, grasp, celebrate or join in the fun. Because he can’t; he simply has no idea what a birthday is. His body gets bigger, his age gets older, but he remains a baby and the gap between physical and mental abilities gets farther and farther apart. And this year as I look back at the past twelve months, I don’t feel the same joy and pride I have for Sidney as she matures, changes and blossoms. Instead I feel sadness for the loss of words, the loss of strength, the loss of engagement with others. It’s not a huge decline that happened quickly but instead it’s a slow progression of loss. I’ve struggled so much lately with the unknown monster who is taking residence in my birthday boy’s body. I want a name, I want to tell this disease I hate its progression, I want to scream “I hate you with every ounce of my being” and have a name to scream at, I want to know what the future predicts for him, I want to know what complications are normal to expect, I want to know if my fear of the other kids passing this same terrible unknown disease to their children some day is possible and justified. But those are things I will probably never know because this monster is silent, he is divisive and tricky and refuses to be found. But I can’t let myself focus on all the sadness, all the unknowns, all the moving-in-the-wrong-direction stuff for too long. Because the truth, the most important perspective, the big picture, the beauty of this almost ten year old’s life is this – my Ryan is changing the world exactly as God intends, one life at a time, one sweet moment of beauty and laughter and joy as they come. Good grief, the Lord has changed me in ways I don’t even comprehend just by being his mom. And it’s such a privilege to be a part of his life, to get to raise him and care for him and love on him every single day. Because every time the sun sets, I get to be one of the few to tuck him in to bed, I get to give him the last nosey of the day, I get to hear the last squeal and see the last smile. And that is beauty at its best. And then I get to repeat it the next day and the next and the next. There are no words to describe the love in my heart for a broken boy whose body wants to fail him. Because yes, he is broken, but he is amazing and loveable and captures the attention and affection of nearly every single person who has the privilege of being a part of his simple little world. He changes people without them even realizing it. So for however many more birthdays we get to celebrate this cute ten year old boy who blazed into our family and changed all of us for the better, I am going to choose to be thankful and joyful and enjoy every single minute of an amazing life that blesses the socks off of me.
God is so very good, and I will never be able to thank Him enough for the joy these beautiful people bring to my life. So happy birthday to two of the loves of my life. Your dad and I are blessed each and every day by you. You both make me smile. Happy birthday Sid and RyRy!