Another year has passed, we have seen Easter, another End of Financial Year, Christmas, New Year (and all the other celebrations that I have not mentioned for no other reason than it would take all night) come and go, and for me, a full 365 day cycle has passed.
I have today, seen out another birthday! Not just any birthday mind you ... no, no, no, this, this birthday is a BIG one ... well, at least that was what I had been lead to believe!
I suppose for many, who are settled and cruising along in most ways in life, the thought of a big celebration for such a 'milestone' birthday might have been well planned, it might even have been planned for more than a few months, or even a few years, and ten years ago, I thought my 50th was going to be different too.
In fact, ten years ago, I thought my 40th was going to be different!
I had started to plan a huge 40th. I had invited friends over many months before to sample hors d’œuvre I had planned to serve on the night, I had looked into catering companies and had received quotes, it was all I was thinking about, other than the pending birth of the child I was carrying in my body!
Son #2 was due in October though, so, hey, not a problem, my birthday isn't until January right? All will be fine ...
I had a wonderful pregnancy as I had with son #1 who had been born five and a half years earlier. I was healthy, I was working, I was winning, and I was cruising along just fine.
What I did not realise then, was what a surprise I would get when son #2 was finally born!
So on the 12th October 2002 (Bali Bombing Day - but that is another story), I gave birth at 12 minutes to 4am to a beautiful, blonde, healthy, squirming little boy with perfect skin and a gorgeous face, who I was in awe of and, who also happened to have Down syndrome.
At first it was all I could do to get my hands on a computer and start to Google! I needed to know more about this! I needed to know how my little boy would be different, what he would need, what I could do and what I needed to do. The first thing I knew I needed to do, was to love him ... and pretty much, that is where I started.
And here I am, ten years on ... the 40th fell flat on its face. I was at a hospital that day instead (Yet another story). I don't even recall going out for dinner! But, I don't really care, because today, as I celebrated my 50th birthday with some beautiful friends (whom I would not have met but for my connection with the Down syndrome community), my life is far from perfect, I am still just Googling to find out what to do next or how to do it, I am acknowledging the changes that have transpired in the last ten years and I am grateful.
I am grateful for the love of friends (new and old), for the understanding of my friends that my life and I are not perfect, and yet they love me anyway and accept me for who I am.
I am grateful for those who have come and gone in my life, as from many of them, I have
learnt so much.
I am grateful for all the support I have had from Down Syndrome NSW and all the people I have had the opportunity to meet through this organisation.
I am grateful for the many phone calls, play groups, Early Intervention groups, Therapy sessions and all the books I have had to read, I have learnt so much about my little boy and other people.
As far as Happy Endings go, I have learnt how to truly love. Not just my children, but my friends, many of whom I have known for most of my life, I have learnt to appreciate people for how they have added to my life, how they have inspired me, supported me through good and bad and my only hope now is that I have been able to be there for them also.
That would very much make my 50 years seem like a Half Century well spent!
What do you plan to do for your 50th (or did you do?)