Saturday, June 13, 2015

A Sweet Success: Noah & Luke's First Party

Bookmark and Share
When you become a special needs parent, so much changes.  There are days when you literally ache to feel and be like other parents.  Do all the normal things that everyone else gets to experience with their children.  You watch on the sidelines as things pass you and your child by.   Sometimes to push away the sadness you'll even go as far as to convince yourself that you are better off without those experiences.  And maybe - just maybe you are better off - but then you start to think about your children how much better off are they?  Never to get an invite?  Never to feel included? Wanted?  Thought of....

For all of Noah's life we've quietly celebrated birthdays and special events from the comfort of our own home, with only our own family.   Special, yes.  But sometimes you always wonder what life is like on the other side of birthday invitations, party favors and lots of other children singing Happy Birthday.   Because of the nature of Noah's disabilities he's rarely invited to parties.  We attended our one and only birthday party three years ago.

There hasn't been any invites since.  And because of Noah's significant sensory issues I knew that we'd never be able to host a birthday party for Noah or even for Luke for that matter at our own home as Noah would see it as an invasion of his personal space and just throw up the entire time.  I almost hung up my hat to the idea that a party of any nature would be in my children's future.  But I seen a flyer one day when I was taking Luke to swim class.  My fingers reluctantly picked it up, in my imagining the fun Noah and Luke would have.  But, the price tag for a pool party still a bit beyond reach.  I almost left it behind but figured I'd take it home and stew on it. 

It sat on the counter for days.  I came up with a million reasons why not; who would even come?  I put out a general feeler with a friend we had recently met, Lindsey, the CEO of ez-pz, knowing she had three beautiful little boys to see if she'd be interested in attending if I was able to fundraise for the fee to rent out the pool for a party.   Little did I know that my inquiry for an invite would lead to this amazing gift of her hosting a party for Noah and Luke.    Luke's birthday is in April and Noah's in December - but she wanted to give them the gift and experience of what a birthday party was like.  

Feeling like a child in a candy store, everything was so full of excitement.  I hadn't coordinated a party since before Noah's birth, and while a tremendous amount of work, I enjoyed hosting house parties and entertaining.  I felt that spark ignite.  That flame that you thought died out but didn't realize was just burning low.  I found a handful of friends to invite for the boys, mostly those who have walked into our lives for special reasons; to help Noah with therapy; former neighbors that shared the same special needs journey, a very special photographer that took foundation pictures of Noah when Luke was only 3 months old, and the ez-pz team and staff.  

I knew that this would bring the boys a lot of joy.  Noah, especially who could safely and comfortably be around lots of other children while being in the pool - as Noah's sensory difficulties are different while in water and it's easier for him to self-regulate.  A mixture of typical children and children with special needs were there, the very best of both worlds.   Although, I didn't want to send out "birthday" invites because to me it was just a gift in itself to be surrounded by others, the ez-pz team took up a collection of birthday cards and some gifts for the boys.   And they arrived with very special cupcakes from Nomélie Cupcakes who donated the sweet treats for their party.

It lasted two hours, but felt like it went by as fast as a flash of light... a true sign that you wish the moment would last forever.  Lots of fun in the water, splashing, swimming, parents and children.... my normal.  Something I had longed to be able to give the boys for a long time.  Another dream come true.  We had three lifeguards, two that work each with Noah and Luke so they were familiar faces, and it was so wonderful to have them at the party.  They made it feel complete, as I've grown rather attached to them.  They may not really know it, but they feel a bit like family.  I cling to those that care like a life-line that prevents me from sinking.  Caring hearts sometimes feel extinct, so when I find them I never want to let them go.

We had an amazing attendance, all but one was able to make it.  You always wonder how will it go.  But it couldn't have been any better.  Everyone was happy and enjoying themselves.  We had light snacks, chips, fruit and veggies, with lemonade.  Tablecloths that we had held onto way before Noah was even born finally got to see the light of day.  Luke and Noah came home with some new treasures, but most importantly a pocketful of memories that they'll remember for a lifetime. 

I sat and opened the collection of cards for the boys.  I'm not even sure how ez-pz did it.   Twenty-eight cards!  All filled with incredibly heartfelt loving birthday wishes and messages. Thank you to everyone who made this day possible.  Ez-pz is more than just a company with a fantastic product.  They are making a difference in so many lives and I will always be forever thankful for the difference they made in Noah and Luke's life.   A first party... when life is sweet soak it in. 


Noah's Miracle by Stacy Warden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.