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Sunday, August 14, 2011

"The Birthday Measles"

I want to talk to you about our daughter. I can’t believe that it will be 8 years tomorrow that our piece of sunshine graced the world, but there you have it.
It seems I often write about birthdays and holidays, but in truth, its because I find the human reaction, especially in children, so interesting. Its like we, as a society, have put so much attention (not to say money, stress and time), on things that don’t really work, but that at their source were meant to be joyful events. I say this having been told today by our girl that she was suffering from “The Birthday Measles”.
That’s our “G” in a nutshell. She has the wonderful gift of summing up what she feels in a beautiful piece of imagery. She paints pictures with her words and in a flash you know where she’s at. I could talk with her about life for lifetimes.
The birthday measles. Yes, it’s an annual disease. It lasts for about 2 weeks before the big day and it is filled with anxiety, worry, stress, woes of getting older, remembering of being younger and basically symptoms of high pitched voices, obsessing over toy catalogues and life being to much. No matter what approach we take, it always seems to lurk in the back of our brown haired girl’s mind.
The day will come and she’ll enjoy it. She says she’s planning to “go with the flow” and only have “fragile plans”. But still, after all of the stress she’s been under with her case of the birthday spots, I always wonder… was it worth it?
You’ve heard me say it before. I love birthdays because it reminds me to take the moment and celebrate the person. With our children I take the time to appreciate their arrival, to remember their birth, to fill myself with awe and wonder at who they’ve become so far. I celebrate them as the person they really are, and always make sure their day is filled with simple joys. But its amazing how much the usual birthday stresses can distract from this purpose. Pursuit of a present, making sure a cake is to their liking, the question of what to do on the day, whether family will make a fuss or not… the world of “What if’s” make “going with the flow” challenging.
When our daughters were young and the birthday train started, I was so unaware of how I wanted it to be. I fell into the trap of making way too big of deal. I enjoyed the stress of planning parties, going over the top and helping to create mayhem. Unfortunately, I introduced the idea of stressful celebrations into their lives and they are too young to shake it still. Our little boy is different. He sees their excitement but still expresses that excitement for each new day. I hope he doesn’t grow out of that.
And so, what is my focus, with my new perspective, for our daughter’s celebration? Just because I don’t like the stress of presents and cake doesn’t mean she has to suffer for it. Tomorrow I will celebrate her. I take the moment tonight to recall her birth. Her sudden arrival 5 weeks early, making her only 10 months younger than her sister. That time at home when she just suddenly arrived, and the moments we had with her before the emergency crew came and havoc reigned for 2 weeks. Her personal announcement that it was time for her to come, that she couldn’t wait, her passion and strength when things felt off to her, even when she was only a few weeks old. Her delight in everything, her wonder with life, made stronger by that time of contrast when in hospital. She is still that passionate darling. She still feels each moment strongly, taking the joy to the fullest, indicating it with her laughter and dancing about. She feels life with every fibre of her body as well as her spirit. Our darling girl understands how life works so well. I love how she can feel “off” but switch quickly around to find a better feeling place on any subject. I love how she feels her way through life, moment by moment at a time. Her eyes dance and sparkle when she feels connected and she reaches for that connection in every waking moment.
Yes, our little 8 year old girl is a miracle child. I sometimes wonder, if with her strong emotional settings, which makes her feel off and on so entirely, that if she was in a normal school settings she wouldn’t be labelled as autistic, ADT or simply hard to manage. She learns at her own pace, and stuns me at how much she picks up without even studying something. She feels her way to an answer, she intuitively learns while watching her sister. She plays, she dances, she loves life. She is the ideal unschooled child, who still has managed to read well beyond her years. She knows what she likes and what she doesn’t. She has no concept of what others think when she says she doesn’t like Harry Potter, but loves Beatrix Potter!
If there’s one thing to say about our darling girl its that she is entirely herself and feels it each moment to the fullest.
I thank all the powers that be for our little angel. She lifts my heart and makes my soul dance. She reminds me to stop and play dolls and create a tea party and she brings out joy and magic in our family.
Yes, that is how I will celebrate tomorrow. I hope that she knows how much I celebrate her on this day and everyday and I know I’ll be thinking about it when I look at her tomorrow morning when I wish her a very happy birthday.

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE the term Birthday Measles & I think I get them every year...despite never having had a big party or any big to-do like it. It may just very well be in her make-up. When I grew up we seldom had birthday parties at all & few gifts. I never received a formal bday gift from my parents at all. My mom let us pick what we wanted for each meal & we got a cake or pie or whatever was our favorite & we got to pick what we watched on TV as a family, etc. It was a special day - but not in the way other people seem to celebrate it. Even so, I was a dreamer & always dreamed of the kinds of parties I read about in books or saw on TV or saw other kids have. I am not even sure if I really wanted it or not - but I liked to dream of everything - even the impossible things (such as I often daydreamed of having a very small pink house in our yard that I would live in full time next door to my family, at say age 8 = LOL). Anyway I love your thoughts on it. MY mom always made me feel special on that day - talked about me all day - what I was like when I was born, when I first walked or talked, what my first word was, etc & she did it for each of us. The birthday boy/girl was the topic of dinner & things we all remembered about them, etc. I thought it was great & am so thankful for those memories. The gifts I got? I cannot remember a single one now, but I got them, from my godmother, a close friend from school, my gramma. I still don't remember them. I do remember everyone telling stories about me at dinner though. ;)