It’s Bridget’s seventh birthday today. I always find this difficult, and have done since her third birthday, just after her autism was finally diagnosed. She’s completely unaware of the concept of birthdays; for her it will be a day like any other non-school day – get up, raid the fridge for breakfast, play in the garden if weather halfway decent, raid the fridge again for lunch, have two baths if possible. The fact that there will be a cake, and some new clothes, are amusing but basically irrelevant details for her. She will have a very happy day but that is because she is a very happy child. If we feel up to it we might take her to a swimming pool, as she loves playing in the water whenever there is any available.
It’s perhaps a bit selfish of me to regret that Bridget’s experience of the day doesn’t live up to my aspirations for her. That’s of course true of her experience of most days; but her birthday seems to rub it in for me. The night before she was born (a planned Caesarian, so Anne was already in hospital getting prepared for it) I sat up in our empty house pointlessly worrying if the baby would be handicapped. As it was, we had two years of beautiful normal development before she had her regression and I loved her every day of it. I love her every day still. But it’s not always easy.