Friday, December 7, 2012

Happy 12th Birthday Sammy!!

Today my baby turned 12 years old.  As I looked over his baby pictures, my eyes filled with tears so different than the ones I shed on the day of his birth.  Those first tears were sadness, worry, disbelief and helplessness.  The tears I shed today were tears of joy, of knowing how far we have come, of acknowledging how this little boy changed my life in a positive way, of thanking God for the blessing that is my Sam.  Our journey has been far from easy but along the way I have changed, I have grown and I have become humble.  This little boy that struggles with expressing himself somehow taught me more in his 12 years than I had learned in the 36 years before him.  He opened my heart, reshaped my ideas and beliefs, instilled a strong faith and love of God, slowed me down, educated me on the human body and all of it's systems, he made me feel more, cry/laugh more, hurt/love more, he taught me compassion, he taught me humility, he made me appreciate the little things and never ever take anything for granted.  Sam taught me to always view life as a gift, that each morning I wake up I am to be thankful and count my numerous blessings and never forget to thank God for both the challenges and the blessings. Sam has tested my patience, my ability to stay awake for days at a time, my stamina, my tolerance for difference, my commitment to family, my ideal of what the perfect life would look like.  He has demanded that I think outside the box, persevere, challenge myself and him, love until it hurts and then just a little bit more.  

Sam has shown me that happiness is contagious, that working hard isn't optional, that time not money is the greatest gift you can give someone. With Sam's upcoming surgery I wanted to make sure his birthday and Christmas were special.  I asked him what he wanted to eat at his birthday and he told me "Pizza, bertday cake, ice cream and soda."  I negotiated the soda to green tea or kombucha and we were good to go.  I knew having a lot of people over would not be in Sam's best interest since he struggles with following conversations unless they are one on one and often in a group situation he will wander off to be away from the group and with his pain issues more prevalent his behavior can change in a moment.  I decided a family party with the grandparents would be the best choice.  After cleaning the house, picking up a gluten free pizza and cupcakes, goat milk, coconut ice cream and candles I was ready to enjoy the day with Sam.

Unfortunately Sam's hip had other plans and his pain levels escalated at different intervals throughout the day.  The Ultram which was keeping the pain in check seemed to be failing today.  I prayed that he would be comfortable enough to make it through dinner and opening his gifts.

When Sam was younger he never liked gifts, didn't have any interest in opening them and would rarely open more than one at any event or holiday.  It sometimes took us a couple of weeks to get Sam's Christmas presents opened.  Times have changed and I found Sam often peeking at his presents or shaking them this week...much more typical behavior.  Sam loved his gluten free pizza and due to his hip pain I allowed him to lay on the floor to eat it.  It was evident the changes in Sam's behavior that are caused by pain and pain medication, repetition, lack of focus, persistently calling for me, yelling if we tried to talk as a group, position changes, higher and quicker frustration levels, generally louder and overall more demanding. My heart hurt as I watched Sam struggle to hold it together and enjoy his birthday party.  When it came time to open the gifts he opened them quickly with little regard to the actual gift but instead wanting to get to the next one...maybe just wanting to be done with it.  He wanted things set up and working in such a short time span that all the rushing in the world would not have satisfied him.

By the time we were ready to have cake Sam was ready to call it a day.  Singing Happy Birthday has always been one of Sam's favorite things to do but today as I called him to the table he went into a major melt down.  He cried, yelled, hit the floor and made sure that everyone knew he wasn't happy.  Knowing how I feel and react to pain...I knew immediately that Sam's pain was breaking through again.  He finally made his way to the table, half crawling and half walking and I was so happy to see his face light up as we began to sing.  It always makes my heart smile to see Sam sing "Happy Birthday"...his expression is one of poor joy.  Sam gobbled down his cake and ice cream and then returned to the living room to lay back down on the floor.

As I write this Sam is asleep but he continues to re-position himself and with every movement and groan my heart hurts a little more.  I rubbed in his hip as he slept and then tried a little cranial sacral work to see if I could get the left side to release a little.  He woke up briefly, smiled his wonderful little crooked smile and said "I wuv you Mommy, my heart" and I replied "I love you birthday boy with all my heart, forever and ever" and again Sam said "Amen" as he drifted back to sleep.  I watched him sleep, closed my eyes and thanked God while praying for healing of Sam's hip.  This little boy has the ability to grasp my heart with his smile, my eyes never tire of looking at his intricate features and memorizing how his eyes light up as he talks and how they sparkle in ways different than my other children.  Good night my little warrior and thank you for blessing each and every day of our life are amazing!!

I snapped a few pictures of Sam and Buddy earlier in the day and thought you would enjoy them.

This next picture made me laugh.....ssssoooo....I just had to come up with some captions!


  1. So heartwarming Sue!! Happy 12th Birthday Mr. can't go wrong with pizza, ice cream, & cake :D Why can't he have soda on a special occasion, Sue? Just curious .. here's to future birthdays being pain free .. thinking of you Sam .. my Eric & I wuv you!! His 28th birthday is less than 2 months away .. sigh. xoxo

  2. Happy Birthday, Sam! A very heartwarming post as always. Hope you find a way to relieve his pain. Hugs to you both!

  3. Hello Sue!

    It's hard to believe Sam is 12. You've done more in his 12 years then most people in 30+... So I guess you are living a very full life. I hope the next 2-3 years are the best in both of your lives.

    Peace. Jeanne S.