Saturday, 12 October 2013
Cameron turned 18 years old today and it feels like an extra special birthday.
18 years is a major achievement for anyone, it means you are now an adult and ready to spread your wings and embrace the next phase of your life. For some young people they head overseas for an adventure, some head to university and start studying towards their future career and others venture out into the employment maze. Cameron's next step is a little different but just as exciting.
Over the years the idea of Cameron living to become an adult became something I didn't think about for fear it wasn't going to happen. He has had to fight to live so many times that I honestly can not remember how many times we've saved his life. But that fear has subsided over the last two years since he started attending The Institute of Functional Neuroscience. It almost feels like a fresh start.
This morning we woke Cameron up so we could celebrate as a family before Dad headed off to work. I kissed him to wake him up and wished him Happy Birthday and his eyes fluttered open with a smile. He understood it was his birthday and that in itself was wonderful. In the past we've never really known if he's understood that it's his birthday and what that meant. This year he seems to understand.
Cards opened and presents unwrapped Cameron had a huge smile on his face and settled down to watch his new Wiggles DVD on his very own TV. This year Cameron noticed his cards first and opened them easily showing how far his fine motor skills have come. He also unwrapped his gifts more quickly and easily.
Breakfast was a stack of pancakes with candles on top and as Cameron walked into the kitchen his grin grew. He walked straight up and breathed at the candles to blow them out and succeeded in extinguishing most of them. This might not sound very exciting but we have spent years teaching Cameron to blow out candles and we got there eventually but as the seizures worsened during his teen years he lost the skill and last year he just looked at his candles blankly, unsure what to do.
The day ended with a family gathering at our favourite restaurant - Sidernos in Balcatta. Cameron loved having his family around him, changing seats whenever he got the chance so he could be close to everyone. He was spoilt again with gifts and cards which he thoroughly enjoyed before tucking into a delicious meal. We finished the meal with dessert and the staff surprising Cameron with a candle in his slice of cake and the waiter singing Happy Birthday to him at the top of his voice. Cameron was so delighted he sat stunned holding the waiters hand with a huge grin on his face. We were all grinning.
After the shock subsided he set to work trying to blow out his candle which he managed after a few attempts.
It's been a special day and we are all heading to bed with a special glow in our hearts. Cameron has thoroughly enjoyed his special day and seems so much more grown up than he did yesterday. It feels like we are standing on the top of a very tall mountain that we have climbed for the last 18 years and are now looking out over a new world that we are about to step off and explore. I think exciting times are ahead.