To my little Kai man:
You just turned FIVE (and you love to tell me so).
As usual this year, we celebrated your birthday at Disneyland before the mad Christmas rush, something that has become one of my favorite traditions to share with you. There is almost nothing that makes me as happy as I feel watching you see all your favorites, watching you soak in the ‘magic’ just like any other kid. Your joy is absolutely infectious.
But of course, I adore birthdays too much to let yours pass by with at least a little celebration the day of, so on the evening of yours we had all the things you wanted: “cookie cake” (you weren’t so sure about the ice cream), balloons, singing, and Superman presents.
It might as well have been the best party on Earth to you, Kai. A person could learn a whole lot about contentment from you. I love how much you enjoy the simple things in life, and how happy you are just having people who love you nearby. I feel just the same when I’m with you.
Kai, in the last year you have amazed me with your persistence to overcome the obstacles that autism throws your way. You’ve blown me away with your intelligence and humor in these first months of homeschooling. I feel so lucky to get to be the one that watches you achieve new things every day, pencil in hand.
This year you also conquered toilet training! That’s hard for any kid, but you had a lot of extra challenges in your way, and you tackled them head on. You were so forgiving with me on the days when the process was wearing me down. It should have been the other way around, and I’m sorry for that. I’m so, so proud of you.
My favorite thing of all this year is how much more vocal you’ve become, because I absolutely love hearing your thoughts and heart. This may sound strange to most people, but first time you said, “I feel so mad!” I nearly cried with happiness because you were using words to let me know how to help you.
You handled your first gymnastics class like it was the easiest, breeziest thing in the world. You can write your name and recently you drew a picture of our family and painted trees and you’ve even started riding your tricycle. There were times when I wondered if you’d ever be able to do any of those things.
Kai, I’m done worrying about what you “can’t do” because of autism. You’re an absolute champion in my book and if you have this much tenacity, kindness, and intelligence at age five, then I truly believe you can conquer anything that life throws your way, exactly the way you are.
I thank God for you every day, little man. Happy Birthday, Kai, I love you.