Last week we celebrated 6 years with our amazing Zachary. The past 6 years have been filled with countless doctor visits, book draws, different tests, therapy appointments, and lots of emotions. The years have also overflowed though with countless laughs, smiles, moments of gratitude, and awe. Zachary is a fighter and has reached milestones many didn't think he'd ever meet. God has been so good to our family and our precious boy.
What May 4 is, though, is a day to celebrate the blessing of having Zachary in our lives. We celebrate how far he's come and how far God has brought his tiny body in these short 6 years. You guys, he's gained so much weight compared to a year ago and is WALKING! A-ma-zing!
So how did we celebrate Zachary this year?
1. Chick-fil-a!Zachary doesn't eat much at home other than soup and cottage cheese. (Thus we're so thankful for his G-tube!) He doesn't even like to sit at the table with us when we eat, so how could we even have a family birthday dinner? Why Chick-fil-a of course. His favorite!
We met Peter's family and some very dear friends from church at the restaurant. We had balloons, Zachary got his fill of chicken, and survived the excitement and noise for a little bit...before Peter had to take him to the car and escape back to the quiet. Zachary can only handle noise and activity for short amounts of time. He's definitely a homebody who prefers just his little family of 6.
Here's the core of why I'm writing this post. Peter and I decided to do something a little different and unique this year and celebrate our big kids on Zachary's birthday. Being a sibling to a special needs child is not the easiest. Our 3 older kids are extremely patient, loving, helpful, and have put up with so much these 6 years so far. Our middle two kids have sat in plenty of waiting rooms and through long appointments. They've had to wait patiently to get a word in while I spent excessive amounts of time on the phone with doctors and nurses.
While his oldest brother is focusing on his final years of high school, Zachary can melt even the biggest kid of the family. The love 17 year old Travis has for Zachary is beautiful to see.
Our kids have put up with numerous moments where we had to give the majority of our focus to caring for Zachary. I hate to admit it, but sometimes they just have to get ignored. Yet they never ever complain. When Zachary does something new and exciting? They're just as proud and excited as we are.
On Zachary's birthday, we decided to turn the tables a bit and celebrate our big kids. We took the day as an opportunity to thank each of them and celebrate what amazing "Special Needs Siblings" they are to Zachary.
Each kid received a card from Peter and I with a special message just for them and a small non-birthday present from us. Since there isn't necessarily a Special Needs Sibling Day, we created our own! And I've heard from each of them how much our gesture meant to them.
Travis, Kaylee, and Daniel - you're the BEST! You are the heroes in Zachary's life who don't get near the credit you deserve.
Zachary is better because he has each of you!