There are certain landmark ages in our lives, Connor will be turning sixteen in just a few weeks, I will be forty in a hot minute and turning five seems pretty important to most little kids. While Corrigan does not understand the idea of “years old” (yet), the fact that he is turning five tomorrow is worth “landmark” status just the same.
I’ve heard a lot about “five” since being introduced to this life of developmental disabilities. Early Intervention always talked about the biggest window of opportunity for crucial skills was birth to five, so I worked feverishly with him to help him achieve, imagining some door slamming on his learning abilities on May 28, 2013. When faced with the decision to have his g-tube placed, Mark and I would say things like, “This is only temporary, once he can be reasoned with, I’d think by five at the latest, we won’t need it anymore” and yet here we are, more reliant on it now than ever before, and reasoning with him? We’re working on it.
We didn’t know if Corrigan would see five-years old when we first learned about his disorder and we didn’t know of many similarly diagnosed kids that were much older than Corrigan is now. When we would beg for ideas of what to expect in the future, we were always told to not look too far ahead and to focus instead on the “now” but it is hard when statistics like these hang over your head.
However, the time between hospitalizations became farther apart and eventually we realized that putting a date on our expectations was unrealistic. Nothing that Corrigan does goes by any textbook or calendar and hope surely has no expiration, so we live in the moment as best as we can now.
I can clearly picture how happy he will be tomorrow, when he sees balloons and Happy Birthday banners and how the excitement of it all will make him hop and chirp and flap his hands. Corrigan’s joy literally leaps from his limbs. Later, he will sit silently, overcome with the magic of birthday cake candles, while people sing to him and then he will look up, and realize he just missed the song because of the hypnotizing flames. We will sing it again and possibly a third time before cutting into a cake he will not eat, suffice a few spoonfuls of cake icing. But this year, he knows full well what presents are and I can already see him tearing into each gift, never having asked for a toy in his life, yet happy that someone brought him something.
He will appreciate the colors and the people and the attention. He won’t wake tomorrow with anticipation of something specific, but he will soak up the extra love without question. I hope that tomorrow is a great day for him, he has truly come so far and is such a tremendous blessing to our family.
Five years old. I can hardly believe it.
I love you Cor.