When you have a special needs child you learn to live by a different set of milestones. When I had Maddie I knew from the get go that we wouldn't be celebrating first steps, first words, normal first days of school. You learn to live in the moment and not look too far forward because you don't know what future holds. You deal with the challenges at hand and start to expect the next challenge. I'm not saying that's the right or wrong way to be its just how you cope. If you let yourself wonder what could have been it can be a dark place so you just don't go there. You deal with your normal. You celebrate first laughs, you create your own milestones, and you celebrate things like this cold didn't turn into pneumonia or you didn't gag on your medicine today. You spend life making memories in the here and now and not dreaming about the future. I guess when Maddie was here I didn't know any other way to be because I didn't have other children. Now I look at my beautiful healthy kids and I do dream about their future. I have so many hopes for what they will become in their lives. I have experienced those milestones, first steps, first words, first day of school. I look forward, reluctantly, to first dates, first cars, and graduations. I don't want these to come too fast but at least I know they're coming. When I had Maddie none of those things were guaranteed, in fact I knew that the next day of her life wasn't guaranteed. I didn't dream about her future. I never really wondered about who she would become one day. I simply enjoyed everyday I had her here.
This week I've been missing her a lot. Her birthday is coming up on Sunday and this one is a hard one. Well, they're all hard without her, but this one seems harder than the usual birthday. She would be 16 this year and I can't help but think of what that would mean for her. If she were a "normal" girl we'd plan a super sweet 16 party and would be thinking about cars and driving. I've never let myself go there and I'm not sure why I have this week. I guess maybe it's because I can't believe that I had a child 16 years ago. Heck, I was barely driving when I had her! That little girl shaped my life so very much and I'm so thankful for the opportunity to have been her momma.
This Sunday we're going to have our own brand of Madison celebration. We're going to go eat her favorite thing, CHEESECAKE and share memories. Maybe we will even even spend a little time raising some funds for Maddie's favorite charity, Make-A-Wish. I'm going to really make an effort to be happy and enjoy the day. She wouldn't want us to be sad, who can be sad eating cheesecake anyway?
Happy Birthday beautiful girl. I'm sure your party in heaven is much cooler than any party I could plan.