Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Cam's 18th Birthday Party - Part 2

Most of the guests had left Cameron's party when we heard a deep rumbling sound coming through the park. The guests who remained were all in on the secret and we all jumped up with excitement because we knew what it was.

We turned and headed for the car park with Cameron in tow. A huge grin grew on his face as we  walked across.
Well to be honest there was a huge grin on every body's faces, it was hard not to smile to be honest and there was a huge grin on Sam's face because he was going to support Cameron to enjoy his birthday present surprise. Sam is Cam's friend who just always seems to be there with Cameron when magic happens.
And this is what we were all grinning about.
Auntie Vicki and Uncle Peter had organized a Harley Davidson motorbike ride for Cameron for his birthday with Swan Valley Trike Tours. It had taken a little bit of organizing but I think it was worth it. Cam went off and changed so he was suitably attired to ride on a motorbike and then the fun began.
Cameron was keen to touch the motorbike and to get on the motorbike with Sam one step ahead all the way so Cameron could see what was happening.

And then we put the helmet on.

Still smiles until the reality of the situation set in and Cameron started to panic.
Sam tried to steady Cam's nerves and I received a lot of very big, smothering hugs. Sam even took over the hugging to help Cameron feel safe. Sam truly is a one in a million, there are not too many 15 year old young men who would feel comfortable enough to sit in the middle of a public park hugging an 18 year old male and holding his hand.

Finally it was time to take off.
Cam wasn't looking too sure but they were away.
We all started to wander back to the picnic site to await the adventurers return. As I walked back I turned to my dear friend and commented that she should feel honoured that our sons were off on their own together. We've never let anybody else go off with Cameron on there own except immediate family and school staff. In the past it had always been because of the fear of seizures but now it's because we've got used to doing it all by ourselves. It was a huge leap of faith for us to let Cameron go off with Sam. 
We had almost settled when we noticed a deep rumbling sound approaching.
 Cameron had had enough. He had conquered his fear and ridden the bike but an hour ride was out of the question.. Even after all the excitement and fear he was still smiling although needing lots of reassuring hugs.
Sam, his sister and My Little Angel were able to have rides which was very exciting for all of them and Cameron was more than happy to watch just as long as we didn't try to get him near the bike again. He did thank Peter, the rider, when he was preparing to leave and now he is proudly showing people his photos and telling people about his special day with his communication iPad. Not many can say they've ridden a Harley.
So Cameron's 18th Birthday Party was a pretty special day but a few things stood out for me and one of them was a short chat with a friend who stood watching Cameron socialize and said - Whatever you've been doing for the last two years has been worth it, Cameron is so different. He's engaged and has improved so much. I had to fight back the tears because I'm so proud of Cameron and what he has achieved over the last 18 years but I'm also proud of our little family and what we have all achieved because of Cameron. Life is pretty good.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Cam's 18th Birthday Party - Part 1

Yesterday we finally celebrated Cameron's 18th Birthday with his family and friends. Most people we know have had evening 18th parties with DJ's, lights and alcohol. We sat back and discussed the relevance of a party like that for Cameron and pretty quickly realized that he wouldn't necessarily enjoy a night party. He's a people person and mainly likes to sit with people and join in their conversations in his own special way. A picnic was much more his thing.

We invited people he loves and adores so he could spend a few hours in a relaxed environment where we could let him wander and spend time with people we know understand him and enjoy spending time with him.

We told Cameron that on Sunday we were going to his Afternoon Tea Picnic Birthday Party. Each time we mentioned it he grinned. Thankfully the mini heatwave we had been enduring disappeared and the weather was beautiful.

Guests arrived slowly which was wonderful because Cameron was able to greet everyone and spend time with them. He loved receiving gifts and took great care to open each one and look at the card. His old habit of ripping small pieces of paper off the present and returning the paper to the gift giver reappeared as the afternoon progressed but everyone was very understanding and at least these days the pieces of paper are no longer microscopic.

Once everyone had arrived it was time for his very special birthday cake which was designed and created by Moira at Delightfully Yours. (You can find Delightfully Yours on Facebook)

Cameron blew out his candles all by himself which was a huge achievement because only a month ago he breathed his candles out and it took a lot of effort.

He then cut his cake all by himself. I hadn't even realized he understood the tradition of the birthday person making the first cut into the cake. My hand is above the knife but he is doing it himself.

Then for me the most exciting part of the afternoon happened. I thanked everyone for coming on Cameron's behalf and asked Cameron if he wanted to say thank you, he immediately signed thank you. He stood in front of me facing everybody and clearly followed every word I said. I thanked everyone for their kind gifts and the thought they had put into them - Cameron signed thank you again. He understood what I was saying and worked with me to thank everyone.

Then we ate cake and the matching cupcakes.

Cameron spent the next few hours circulating around his friends and family. I hardly saw him and he was clearly enjoying himself. He even managed to spend some time playing in the playground with his sister and friends. It had been the perfect party for him.

But then as the sun started to dip we heard a distant rumble and Cameron's surprise gift arrived.

Part 2 of Cam's 18th Birthday Party coming tomorrow.