Raw and emotional. Today is a hard day. It is my daughter’s 20th birthday.
In my head, all I can think is how it was a horrible day 20 years ago. To say that today has triggered me, is an understatement!
This time 20 years ago, I was coming to terms of a birth diagnosis of Down syndrome. When I think of myself and husband 20 years ago, I am not joyous or proud. There was nothing to celebrate. We didn’t want to accept the child we had created.
Our child is 20 today. She will never be 20 years old in the sense of her neurotypical peers. For some reason, this birthday has hit me like a ton of bricks. I cried at her special breakfast this morning at a local cafe.
Cried about the reaction I had after her birth, then the guilt from that.
Cried for the fact that even though we’ve made a big song and dance about her no longer being a teenager, she will never be her neurotypical age.
The good thing is she will never really know or understand how we felt about her arrival.
Like all special needs parents, we just celebrate her birthday and the person she is, unapologetically herself. We celebrate her with a special dinner and a gluten-free cake!
It’s hard sometimes being a special needs parent and the waves of emotion that hit us during our children’s milestones. I guess you only understand if you walk the same path and experience the waves of emotions, grief and joy that hit us all at once.
Tomorrow is another day and we will move forward, all together.