Happy Birthday August!

Today is August’s 20th birthday. It is a day filled with so many emotions. I don’t want him to be spending his birthday locked up. But part of me thinks maybe spending a birthday in prison will be the wake up call he needs. Maybe he’ll make the decision that he wants to change and he’ll start focusing on school. Then I remember this isn’t how he’s going to heal. This isn’t how he learns. His damaged brain won’t repair by spending a birthday behind bars.

Every birthday since he became my son and even more so since he was diagnosed with RAD I have wished that I had been there at the moment of his birth. That I had given birth to him. He couldn’t be my son any more if I had but just that little difference; just those few extra years in his life could have spared him so much pain.

His first birthday with us we made such a big deal. He was a huge Scooby Doo fan and my sister and I stayed up so late making a handmade cake which looked wonderful but was so hard to make. We had about 10 little boys at our house in Oregon and thank goodness the weather was nice because I don’t know what we would have done if it was raining which it should have been!

Over the years his birthdays have been different with a variety of themes and kids. Sometimes big crowds, sometimes just a couple of friends. He’s always been really happy on his birthday, even when he was little and couldn’t remember what day it was! Mostly it’s because he likes getting presents. Can’t deny him that!

I sent him an email this morning. We aren’t allowed to send cards and presents. And because I charged him with stealing my car at the moment I can’t even visit him. Another “parent of the year” jewel in my crown. So an email and money on his account to spend on candy. That’s how I spend his birthday.

The reality is I am happy he’s even having this birthday. There have been so many times over the last few years when I didn’t think he’d live this long. His dangerous behavior and scary choices had me constantly expecting the sheriff to come to the door to inform me that he had been killed. So that there even is a birthday is a victory.

He has no cake and no candles to make a wish over and blow out. So I make wishes for him. Probably things he’ll never wish for himself.

  • I wish he finds the smile he had when he was little
  • I wish he learns the value of education
  • I wish he comes to realize how incredible and valuable he is
  • I wish he decides to face his demons and heal from his trauma
  • I wish he learns to build relationships built on trust and respect not manipulation
  • I wish he stays safe
  • I wish he has many more happy, healthy birthdays

Happy birthday my sweet, sweet boy. Mommy loves you so much.


6 thoughts on “Happy Birthday August!

  1. No matter what else is going on, he knows your heart. All the rest is just details.
    Sending love to you, August, & Spencer

  2. Shannon, your words are so touching. I cannot even imagine your hurt. You are a wonderful mother. I have seen you in action. I will pray for you and that life will get better for August.

  3. I remember the first Sunday you brought him to church. I remember how hard and how long you worked to get him here. You were informed of the circumstances leading to his being made available for adoption and that there may be serious, permanent damage to his very young brain but it didn’t matter; you were already his mom. It was like he’d always been your son and you had to go find him and bring him into the love and safety of your home and family. You have been the most precious gift God could give him; God chose well.

    Much love from Oregon!

  4. The million-yard stare in some of those pictures is very familiar. My heart aches for you. I understand on some level–our guy has been in psychiatric residential treatment since October 1.

    I’m sure it’s difficult not to feel guilty for charging him, but you did the right thing. Hubby and I were just talking about what we’d do if ours ends up with a charge. Basically, as long as they’re not throwing the book to make an example of him, we’ll stand by and let consequences happen. (Obviously, if they’re being ridiculous, we’d fight for a fair sentence.)

    We’d also planned to homeschool him this year because we wanted to give him the chance to learn without the interpersonal conflict. When he returns from residential, we’ve decided against homeschool, because we’ve realized that eliminating interpersonal activities won’t cause him to grow. We protect him from himself through middle and high school–then what? He won’t be able to interact as an adult, and the consequences could be so much more dire at that point. It’s a tough road to travel, but we all have to do what’s best for them.

    YOU ARE NOT ALONE. You’re a good parent. Don’t forget either of those things.

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