Saturday, June 1, 2013


Yesterday was CB's 18th birthday.  

She slept in, still tired from the seizure that knocked her right out of bed the night before. I took her in to school late, instead of letting her play hooky.  They were going to do cupcakes for her. It was the closest thing to celebrating with friends she would get, and I didn't want to take that away. 

Seizures start...

Seizures going berserk. In a few months she'd be diagnosed with Autism & Cognitive Impairments. 

Four years old and almost unreachable. 

My favorite photo of her.  I used to think to myself "This is the picture where I can see her without Autism. I can see her like she's just another 5 year old kid."

My favorite school photo, at age 8

I posted a "happy birthday picture" on facebook in the morning and was overwhelmed by the kind thoughts and birthday wishes she received.  It really made me happy. Tearfully happy. 

Eighteen is a big year.  So big, I don't really know what to say.

This might have been a year of graduating high school and preparing for college.
This might have been a year of senior trips, a summer job, maybe her first used car.
But it's not.  Instead it is what it is.  It's lots of things - neither good nor bad, better nor worse.  Just different.   
Really, really different than what I thought and planned.

Her big gift is going to be the construction of a Sensory Room in our home.  It will be a space just for her where she can be herself with textures on the walls, rubberized floors, big cushy mats, therapy swing, playhouse, and hopefully some of those cool fiber optic curtains and big bubble pillar. It's a massive project and it will take a few months to create the room and several years to get some of these big ticket items in there, but it will be so kick ass when it's done.

 So in the meantime we celebrated at home with an ice cream cake, homemade cards from the girls and CB's favorite thing - the singing of the Happy Birthday song.
I had a video of it, but it won't let me upload into this post so the pictures will have to do. It was cute though.

So many things in life are unexpected, and the most unexpected thing of all is how much I've been blessed. 

Happy Birthday CB.  
We love you!


Elizabeth said...

I've found your week of posts celebrating CB's 18th birthday incredibly moving and deeply personal. She is so beautiful and your love for her -- your honesty and grief and evocations of loss and adaptation just resonate for me on so many levels. I wish that I lived closer to you -- I know that I've said this before, but I imagine the two of us and our two girls (and little girls and boys!) being fast friends. I'm sending love to you as you move forward into CB's nineteenth year.

Danni said...

Happy Birthday CB! I hope you had a lovely day and you have a brilliant year!

She's a beautiful young woman and those pictures are gorgeous! The sensory room sounds wonderful- I'd love one for my birthday, even though I'm nearly 27 :P (Unfortunately money and space issues means that's not doable, but I have found a place that has one I may be able to go to soon.)

*Squishes* for you all :)

kario said...

I hope her birthday was everything she wanted. The sensory room sounds fantastic - what a lovely, thoughtful gift for her.

Anonymous said...

So touching. CB outgrew that chubby little girlness!

Do you know whether the seizures caused CB's impairments, or whether there was some organic issue that caused both seizures and impairments?


Alicia D said...

You know, it's difficult to know definitively whether the organic issues caused her Autism/cognitive impairments or whether the seizures and oxygen deprivation caused brain damage. I guess we will never know as either explanation is plausible. She was so young when she first had these very long, grand mal seizures so we really didn't have a good cognitive baseline :).
Take care!

Tanya Savko said...

It looks like CB's birthday celebration was very enjoyable! The pictures are fantastic! And I love your plans for the sensory room - what a wonderful idea. Lots of love to you!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday dear CB! xo

Shannon said...

So touching!

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