At the stroke of midnight, our teenager turned into a twenty year-old. Two digits…different meaning. Don’t think he doesn’t realize this.
To our early morning “happy birthday” J replied with his beaming smile and the word BIRTHDAY. He told everyone we saw that today was his birthday. Of course, this was because we bought him cupcakes (and the girl at the shop was very pretty and he wanted to get a Happy Birthday from her,) and because he made his annual birthday pilgrimage to Five Guys (where, of course, he had to inform everyone that his was not just any ordinary dinner.) TGG took him to the movies, and in the transition from our car (we’d been cupcake shopping and to the library with him) to TGG’s extended arm there was the announcement that this was a birthday treat. BIRTHDAY! J announced to passing cars as he and TGG walked to the theater.
When the movie was over, the kids joined us at the car dealership where we were, finally, looking at a new car. We didn’t abandon our beloved Sophia (yes, we name cars) lightly, but we did need to consider (after twelve years and 93K miles) a car with 4-wheel drive for the ups, downs, curves and snow of our current hometown. J told everyone in the dealership that it was his birthday. Everyone made sure he got congratulated. J thinks the new car is his…well, we DID buy it on his birthday. (This car, by the way, is named The Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher…look her up.)
So we had dinner at his favorite place, he got to watch Paddington the Bear in his big screen debut, we sang happy birthday (quite joyfully, I’d like to point out,) opened presents (with a stack of coins to feed his new Panda Bear coin bank that say ni hao and bye bye while taking whatever coin you put on the tray, five new t-shirts (XL so they have room to shrink) depicting everything from the Twelfth Doctor to Darkwing Duck (the one with Duck Tales on it elicited a woohoo like in the theme song,) and a chocolate chocolate chip cupcake with sprinkles and a small scoop of ice cream were consumed dutifully as if to say: I’m twenty, and I’ve played nice with the parental units. May I go now????
In hindsight, we were all exactly like that when we turned that age. We can’t complain.
So today, officially, I have no teenager who is autistic. I just have some dude with a goatee, an appreciation for classic pin-up girls and Disney Princesses, and far less “issues” than he had at fifteen living in our home. It feels good. It feels…right.
When I started writing this, we were a mess of boxing gloves, hats, medication, Slinky (ok, we still have a wee bit of the last three things, but those boxing gloves went bye bye, baby,) and I think we’ve moved forward quiet a bit. We still need to laugh. We still need to shake our heads and ponder at the absurdity that is our everyday life. We made it (safely, in one somewhat mangled piece) past adolescence. I am impressed with us. Maybe I shouldn’t be because it’s probably a sign of lack of faith in our own abilities, but I am impressed, and surprised that we are here…today…like this…
That’s all I have to say today…may peace, patience, quiet successes follow you everywhere.