Last weekend, we went to our beautiful niece's first birthday party. The whole family were invited and we all went along (well minus the teenager who had to stay at home to finish homework). B was in his element. There was a bouncy castle and lots of lots of yummy food at the buffet. Birthday parties (well any parties for that matter) are always a tiny bit bittersweet for us. It's very emotional watching another child doing things that B cannot do and particularly if they are much much younger than him! It really drives it home for us how disabled and diffabled B actually is. It's getting harder and harder each time. Family and close friends are very accommodating when it comes to B. They will tolerate a lot out of love for him. However at this party B knocked over a small crawling baby as the baby wanted something B was playing with. Fortunately the baby was pretty resilient and rolled right back over for another round with not a tear in sight. We were literally watching him like a hawk just feet away and B's dad dived to intervene. But we can't constantly watch over him. I felt absolutely awful about it. The baby's mum knows B really well and is a good friend of the family. However I can't help thinking this won't always be the case. There are a lot of 'what ifs'. What if B does it to a child who isn't so resilient or a child we don't know or a parent gets really angry? B has always been like a gentle giant. He never purposely hurts anyone but the bigger he gets, the smaller the babies get and the more dangerous he is going to seem. It's pretty heartbreaking to think about this, let alone write it down. But that's where we have found ourselves now. Do we stop taking B to parties? Do we stop taking him to softplay centres? Where does it end? Driving home quietly in the car after the party, it crossed my mind that perhaps we will have to take it in turns. One of us goes to a party with the other children and one of us stays at home with B. There's an awful guilt that washes over me when I consider putting B in club (respite) so that we can go to a party without him. He loves parties! This is a reality we need to face up to. In happier news, the host gave B the most incredible personalised and special needs friendly going home bag filled with chocolate spread (B's absolute favourite) and a chewy tube amongst other things. This made me choke up a bit because it was so thoughtful and kind. Who knows what the future is going to hold now. His older sister keeps asking what B is going to be like when he's a teenager and we honestly don't know. He will probably just be the same but bigger! I only know a couple of older boys with PMS so I just have them to use for comparison.
B has his own birthday party to look forward to in March and all the usual party etiquette goes out of the window! He's having a bouncy castle and a softplay all to himself. It will be his party on his terms and he'll love every minute of it.