Best Birthday Gift

I’m sure all of you have this marked and circled on your calendars, but my birthday is quickly approaching. I’m getting to the age where I’m finding there’s not much I need for my birthday anymore. Although if you were planning on buying me an iPhone or something, feel free to proceed as planned. Long gone are the days where I had a huge list of things I wanted for presents and you eventually hit a certain age where you can pretty much eat anywhere you want anytime you want, so it’s not as big a deal to go to a certain restaurant for your special day. I would love to go to the Bump ‘n Tilt though. That’s a North Dakota reference for those scratching their heads right now. It was THE place to have your birthday party when I was a lad. All the videogames and bumper cars you could play for one price all afternoon plus frozen Cokes.

Anyway….as I age, I find I value the little things more. For a day like my birthday, just getting to spend some extra time with my family or share some laughs at work is enough.

Yesterday something happened that I believe is the best early birthday present a guy could ask for.

When I went to pick up my son from his therapy center yesterday they were excited to tell me a story. They said a few minutes after I dropped Josiah off earlier that day, he started to get sad. They figured he wanted a certain toy or maybe was hungry or something. So they asked him what he wanted. He said, ‘Dad.’

For many of you reading this that might just sound like a cute story but nothing overly remarkable. But for the parent of a child with autism, that’s pure gold. We are so fortunate that our little guy is verbal, but calling us by the names ‘Dad’ or ‘Mom’ is something that really doesn’t ever happen. He did use those words a bit before he was 18 months when we noticed him regress into autism, but ever since it’s been few and far between.

Most days it doesn’t even dawn on me that I don’t get called ‘Dad.’ I’m just happy we’re making the progress we are and that he does use a lot of words. But I’ll have to admit I see other kids running up to their parents and saying ‘Daddy!’ and I start hurting inside a bit. 

It was the perfect day for this to happen too (and not just because my birthday is approaching). I had kind of a crappy day yesterday before I picked him up. Nothing too serious…just tired and feeling a bit down. But to get the news I did sure gave me a huge boost.

So when my birthday comes around next week, I really don’t need anything else (although if you already bought me something you might as well still give it to me and I will happily accept it!). Just knowing that my little guy said my name and also was missing me is present enough.

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3 Responses to “Best Birthday Gift”

  1. Maddy Says:

    Precious moments indeed.
    Best wishes

  2. mike Says:

    That’s AWESOME!!!!!

  3. Lori Says:

    That was awesome, Joe! What a little sweetie. Progress is being made, and like you said, that is the best present in the whole world! Better than Bump ‘n Tilt or anything else a person could ever think of. If I could get more moments for you like that, especially for your birthday, it would be so worth every penny! Love ya!

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