I'm sorry for the lack of posts over the last few days. I have lots to catch up on and some fantastic ideas to share with you and will be getting back to daily posts again now so watch this space. I've been taking a few days off to celebrate two very special birthdays. Ellie was 12 on Friday and Wills was on Saturday. Where does the time go?
All birthdays are special and often emotional but even more so when there is so much to look back on and so much to be thankful for. William's 7th birthday bought with it a lot of very special firsts. It was actually the first time Wills has spent a birthday at home, well and free of drips and lines. He was well for his fifth birthday but we were away at the British Transplant Games. Last year, Wills was back in Birmingham Children's Hospital for the summer with a 24 hour tummy bug that lasted 8 weeks and took him right back to the beginning of getting his bowel to tolerate feed again. This year, he had a very happy and 'normal' birthday.
It was the first year I laid all his birthday presents and cards out on the breakfast table, as I do with his sisters.
It was the first year I got to make him a birthday cake! Others have been made by hospital kitchens or I've bought them in for him,
It was also the first year William ate some of the cake!
After a morning playing with new toys and sharing cake with one of William's wonderful carers, we went to see Horrid Henry and had lunch in MacDonald's -another first. William ate his first Happy Meal. He said he wanted nuggets and fish fingers and, when I explained that would mean having two happy meals, his response was; "Well I don't see why not, it is my birthday after all." I didn't see why not either if it got him eating, although made it clear it was a birthday treat and he's only be allowed one in future. Wills ate two chicken nuggets and a fish finger - amazing as he's only just started eating that kind of food.
For the first time, Wills is having a birthday party with his friends but that's not until 9th August because his best friend (and girlfriend) is on holiday. I'll share more about birthday parties and the challenge of finding a suitable place to host several children with varying physical special needs then. Finding the venue was a tad stressful to say the least and I don't have the space at home. More on that to come.
It's been an incredible few days and I must admit to some moments of feeling very emotional after all we've been through. I think birthdays can also focus us a little on the uncertainties we face in the future too. Somewhere amidst the fun, joy and excitement, for me it's usually at the end of the day when the children have gone to bed, we find ourselves wondering about how many birthdays we'll share. Will we get to the big ones, like the 18th and 21st? What will the next year bring? Will it be a stable one or are there hiccups on the horizon...?
Of course, if William's birthdays were disrupted by him being in hospital, so too were Ellie's.
She has spent most of her birthdays over the last seven years in hospital with us or away from her brother and mum. I've talked on here before about the impact of having a sick sibling. It's especially hard for Ellie as her brother (who, in her eyes gets all the attention all the time) has her birthday the day after hers. This means her birthday feels over very quickly and the focus is immediately on William. Ellie is really feeling the strain of being William's sibling at the moment and so I made sure her day was extra special and there was no preparation for William's day to be done on hers. She had some very special presents, flowers and a surprise trip to the West End to see her favourite show - Wicked. She was well and truly spoiled as she deserved to be.