What a Birthday Should Look Like

We just celebrated my son’s ninth birthday. If you had asked me ten years ago what my future son’s ninth birthday would look like, I might have described the perfect summer pool party. Something rambunctious and loud and perfectly planned. Water balloons and canon ball contests and twenty sun-kissed kids clamoring around a cake shaped like a surfboard. Hot dogs and music and grown up drinks in red plastic cups for the adults.

Guess whose ninth birthday looked absolutely nothing like that.

This is what we do, we special needs parents. We compare what we think a childhood should look like to what our kid’s experience actually is. I play this game a lot, and it’s like Tic Tac Toe. Nobody wins.

This birthday, I stopped myself from creating a day I thought my son should want. I didn’t plan a thing. There were no invitations and no guests. I…

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