February 18, 2012

New Territory

Posted in Fun Stuff, Life's Little Moments tagged , , , at 8:05 am by autismmommytherapist

“Oh no, we passed it!” my youngest yells from the back seat of our SUV, and as I look into the rearview mirror I see him contort himself so he can search for his desired destination once more. I respond with “it’s okay Zach, we just have to go through the circle and turn around”, and I watch my  Pennsylvania-bred husband make a face at the word “circle” (a shape which symbolizes Jersey for him), and I laugh. “We’ll be there in a few minutes Zachy” I reassure my son, and he smiles, bouncing up and down in his seat as far as the seatbelt restraints will permit.

“Mom, it’s my birthday party for friends!” he yells, and I smile back because he’s right, and because the gymnastics venue which is hosting us is now mere seconds away. Zach lets out a loud “WAHOO!!” as we turn into the as yet empty parking lot, and I have to admit, I’m not sure who’s more excited, me or my boy.

Today is the first “kids birthday party” we’ve ever held in the almost nine years I’ve been a mom.

To be perfectly honest, we’ve had birthday bashes in Virginia in which our eldest child, Justin, technically had friends present. These child guests were generally the offspring of what we liked to call our “faux family”, and not Justin’s friends in the true sense of the word. During these fetes there was a lot of interaction going on between the adults with whom we spent many hours socializing on weekends, and not a great deal of interaction between our boy and other kids.

Since our return to New Jersey Justin has spent most of his years in out-of-district placements, both of which drew children from various locales in the state. Between the kids living far away, and the difficult nature of many of the families’ lives, we didn’t feel comfortable planning a party for Justin knowing that most of the guests might not show up. This year his school has offered to let us throw him a party on school time, which will guarantee a good crowd.

I’ll definitely be writing about that event too.

But today is about Zach, and I’m so excited that this is working out for him, thrilled that he showed an interest this year in a party, ecstatic that almost everyone responded positively. His behavior at his friends’ birthday celebrations has definitely improved in recent months, as he’s learned to reign in that “over-exuberance” a bit so he can listen to instructions and really participate in these events. I’m so proud, literally and figuratively, that he’s made it to this place. Frankly, I’m also excited for myself and the other adults, as we will be the beneficiaries of an entire hour in which our parenting will be limited to watching our kids tumble and spin in a room in which we’re not allowed entry.

If I’m completely honest, this will be one of the highlights of my day.

I snap out of my train of thought as I hear the ‘click’ of the seatbelt restraint as it releases its charge, and I remind Zach to stay in his booster until we’re ready to get him out. There will be a brief skirmish with an over-zealous balloon as we schlep six tons of party accoutrements into the waiting area, and a moment where my son’s small form is hidden behind a post and I’ll be convinced I’ve lost him. Otherwise, the afternoon will unfold with my happy boy and twelve of his buddies immersed in ball pits, and later, the consumption of a gluten-free/casein-free cake that tastes almost like the real thing.

For once, a McCafferty event will transpire with almost no drama whatsoever.

On our way home there will be discussions about where the celebration should take place when he turns six (Disney will be suggested and quickly turned down). My son will talk about how much he loves his friends, how he was so happy they came. I will respond to him that I am so happy too. Without any prompting he’ll thank us, then launch into a narrative debating the merits between herbivorous and carnivorous dinosaurs. The party will be put to rest.

And I’ll sneak another piece of chocolate out of his goody bag, sit back, and smile.





  1. Mom said,

    How great a day was that for him and his parents! Happy Birthday to all of you!

  2. Kathy said,

    I wish I could have been there to celebrate with you and Zach!!

  3. Misifusa said,

    Happy Birthday Zach! So happy his party went great! xo

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