Billy has everything planned: Today he is 16. On the 6th of May he will have a party. On the 10th of May, his IPad (a long-awaited birthday present) arrives. He has things all meticulously organized, but I have a dull ache of dread when I think about the party on Sunday.
Billy approached Jon and me a month ago to say he would like a party with girls and dancing which is not an issue–one of the perks of having an older sister. Bella is instructed to bring as many as possible and family/friends have been asked too. Billy, however, has other ideas. He tells us he has his own list of girls that will be coming. This is the problem.
Me: “Who is coming to your party, Billy?”
Billy: “Linda Smeltzer, Sarah Green, Jackie Doe…” The list went on.
Me: “Billy, Linda lives in America so she won’t be able to come. Who are the others?”
It turns out that the others are teachers, cleaners, cooks – even the headmistress and deputy of his school. Not one person is his own age. He just loves all the staff.
Me: “Billy, they are all staff so will be unlikely to come.”
Billy: “When they are at my house they are not staff, they are Billy’s friends.”
Can’t argue with this but Sunday will come and there will be no Linda Smeltzer or any of the others he is so confident will come.
Billy remembers the smallest things. He bounded out of bed this morning, announced that he was 16, listed Linda and crew for the 6th of May then IPad, 10th of May, then said, “I can go to Hampton Gym now, I am 16!” Billy was told by our local gym 18 months ago that he would have to wait until he was 16 to use the gym. He hardly mentioned it again until today.
I have to say, apart from the impending party, this is the first birthday of Billy’s that I haven’t had a sinking feeling about my son turning another year older. Previous birthdays had filled me with panic: Was I doing enough for him? What will happen when he gets older? My questions, panic and desperation used to ruin every birthday Billy had.
But as I watched him open his cards and carefully read every line people had written (this is very new–for years, he would open the envelope, take out the card, and without even looking at it, dump it on the side) I was full of pride–even when he said,“ Mum, this isn’t very many presents.” I laughed and reminded him of his IPad (10th of May) that costs big money. It was just sheer joy to see all the family at the table and just for now, autism wasn’t a problem. It was (dare I say it?) fun.
As for the future? I have a plan, a new plan for Billy. (I highly recommend plans, they will change but so will your child.) I know now not to announce plans before they start to really happen. But, I will write on this blog as and when they do–and this one is a goodie.
Wish us luck for the party…