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I Cried on My Son's First 2 Birthdays. Here's Why I Won't on His 3rd.

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So Drew is turning 3 tomorrow and this year, I can’t help but be grateful not only for this boy, but also for this place we have found ourselves in, surrounded by amazing people and looking forward to all that is ahead of us.

I think of how hard the beginning was when we first were seeing Drew struggle with things. There were tears and sleepless nights, constant worry and begging God that the doctors were wrong, that Drew would indeed develop typically…

If only I could go back and tell myself to stop all of that, I would.

I wish I could tell myself what an amazing journey this was going to be. I wish I could tell myself that yes, it was going to be hard, but that it was going to be worth it a hundred times over. That there would be appointments all week and visits to CHOP, hard decisions and fights with the school district, but that there would be lessons with all of these trials and that those lessons would be the most priceless part of life.

I wish I could tell myself that while I was worrying about what my husband was feeling and thinking, he was becoming the kind of man who would be looking up baseball programs for kids with special needs, the kind of man who would take his son down to the tennis courts to practice using his walker, and the kind of man who would tell me he wouldn’t want Drew any other way.

I wish I knew that while I was worried about how the world would treat Drew, we would have friends who would be the kind of people who would take turns helping Drew bowl at a birthday party, family like Drew’s great-grandfather who is learning sign language so that he can communicate like Drew, and people who just love him and accept him for all that he is and cheer him on to be all that he can be.

I wish I knew how so many people were going to surprise me… Basically I wish I never doubted the good in the world.

kasey eykyn the mighty

Drew has been the most amazing teacher to everyone who is a part of his life. He has taught us about humility, strength and perseverance. He has showed me the true meaning of tough. But most importantly, he has taught us that God’s plans will ALWAYS be better than the ones we have for ourselves.

This life was not what we pictured during my pregnancy with Drew, and I cannot stress enough that this life is a million times better than anything I could have ever imagined. I used to think, If only I could make life easy for Drew; now I have realized that Drew is who he is because of his struggles and I wouldn’t trade who he is for anything.

He’s a boy who loves to go to bed, but hates to sleep through the night. He can’t say a word, but his facial expressions can say a million. He loves loves loves to make people laugh and so he will randomly snort like a pig. He enjoys giving hugs and open mouth kisses. He is the kid who when I take him to a store, he always makes a friend. A boy who people feel the need to come up to me in restaurants and in church to tell me how happy my child is. He is amazing, almost magical, and all of this would be different if Drew were different. Mike and I, our family, our friends, all of us would be a little less without Drew and who he is.

So on Drew’s third birthday, I will not cry like I have for the past two (well, maybe a little…). I will try to just continue to be grateful for this little boy who I always say is so perfect for me and for all the lessons he has taught us. I absolutely think our worry and trepidation in the beginning of this journey was natural and necessary, but I am so grateful that Mike and I and all the people who now surround us have risen to the occasion.

I hate that Drew is growing up so quickly, but every birthday gets a little easier and that’s because I know he has so many people looking out for him. I know his life will only get more beautiful with every passing year and I know that he will continue to make all of our lives more beautiful as well.

Happy birthday, little man, and thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being exactly who you are.

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Originally published: April 29, 2015
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