Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Paul's Birthday

Yesterday was Paul’s birthday. Most of you probably know who he is by now but for the benefit of those who don’t, he’s my special needs son who’s currently staying with my parents in order to help Mum look after Dad, who’s very, very ill at the moment. He was 31 yesterday but to all intents and purposes, he’s still very much a child. An incredibly loving, helpful and honest child.

I phoned him yesterday to wish him happy birthday - like you do - and after a quick ‘conversation’ (Paul can’t actually speak and as he obviously can’t use sign language or gestures via the phone, conversation is difficult) I spoke to my mum.

She told me he’d received a card from my ex husband. This is a man who I haven’t lived with for about 18 years and who isn’t Paul’s natural father. Paul was a year old when we met, two when we married. Since going our separate ways, he’s had relatively little to do with Paul (long story but there is a reason) but never once has he forgotten him. And there’s always some money in the card too, even though he’s far from ‘flush’ himself.

Paul gets ever so excited about birthday cards - small things mean a hell of a lot to him. Far more so than they ever have to me or my daughters. Paul sees and appreciates things that most of take for granted. Sadly though, he only received two cards. The second one was from my mum. Today he should get two more, one from me and one from his sister (ours obviously didn’t arrive on the day) but unless there are some more late-comers, nobody else bothered.

Now I understand that we usually stop sending cards when children grow up, and that some people won’t send cards at all for ethical reasons, but I would have expected a few more people to understand that Paul isn’t ‘grown up’, especially those who have been close to him, and that he doesn’t have a great many of the pleasures in life that we all take for granted, and at least taken the time to send a card to brighten his day with - to help make him feel special and appreciated. Because he IS special, in so many ways.

I just feel that fewer people seem to take the time to think about what would make somebody else happy and actually do it - sending a card isn’t that difficult. Even a phone call would have been something. Or a letter. Anything!

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I shouldn’t expect anything. Maybe it’s just me being selfish, expecting others to give a damn about my son.

Sharon J xx


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Little Terraced House said...

I know exactly what you mean, my son 24 is special needs although to many others they wont realise that. He manages to hold down a job, takes a great interest in politics and science fiction, but to all intents and purposes he is still childlike in so many ways and the cards, small presents thing I can totally relate to - it is the small things which make such a difference to his life, like us having a bar of chocolate, me sitting watching a program with him that he wants to watch, etc. So yes I do know exactly what you mean in your post and no you aren't being selfish, just understanding, and being like a mom should be! xx

Anonymous said...

No, you are not wrong, was talking to Margaret about this the other month, how people don't bother. For me I go over the top, card prezzie (usually takes me ages to make or buy), personally I think it is really sad but is how most people are. Best friend didn't even remember mine!!!! Isn't been nasty just got there own thing, hope he had a wonderful birthday and you and yours are OK fiona

Sharon J said...

Little Terraced House. Funnily enough, Paul loves watching the news. People don't imagine he'd understand anything like that but he does. Like your son, he'd also get excited about sharing a bar of chocolate or watching a film together. In fact, he's happy to do just about anything as long as he can do it with somebody he cares about. I'm sure you do everything you can to keep your son happy :)

Fiona. What really upset me is the fact that Paul can't go out with his mates on a bender for his birthday, or go out for a meal with his girlfriend (doesn't have one) or do any of the things that the rest of us take for granted. The cards are the main focus of his birthday for him, he likes to line them up and will keep looking at them all day. That's why I was so disappointed that he only had two. Mine and LM's have arrived today and his other sister has sent one too but that's it it seems.

Catz said...

A belated Happy Birthday to Paul from the catz family!

aromatic said...

Wishing Paul a belated 'Happy Birthday'
I hope Paul was not too upset by the lack of cards... and that he had a lovely day regardless.
With Love Jane xxx

Sharon J said...

Thanks Catz & Aromatic. I'm passing on the greetings he gets here and on Facebook to him when I phone him tomorrow. I'm sure that will at least go some way to making up for the lack of cards :)

R said...

Please wish him a happy birthday from me too Rx

Sharon J said...

I will, R :)

Sharon J said...

I will, R :)

aromatic said...

Please look out for an JacquieLawson birthday card coming through your email for Pauls Birthday. I hope it will make up for the lack of birthday cards.
Love Jane xxx

Sharon J said...

Thank you, Jane :)