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.