This past week we celebrated Kirby’s 20th birthday. As the day approached, I couldn’t help but have some bittersweet feelings. I thought back to the story my parents tell about Kirby’s diagnosis, when the doctor told my parents, well, enjoy her while you have her. On that day, none of us knew what to expect or how long Kirby would be with us. After that day, we were all scared as to what the future may hold.
However, over the years we learned to celebrate Kirby’s achievements and shift our definition of success. We learned to celebrate all that we have learned from Kirby, and find happiness in the time we share with her. So, on April 15, 2011 we did just that. We celebrated with friends new and old.
Kirby gained a new friend, Abi who shared her passion for baking with our family. It felt wonderful to know that even a person who has only known of Kirby for a short time, wanted to make her day special. Abi’s Scrumdidiliumptious cupcakes filled all our bellies and really got the party started.
While in Kirby’s classroom, it was wonderful to see how hard her teacher, Jackie Gay worked to include Kirby in activities that other kids her age would enjoy. With that said, I must confess that after 13 years of competitive tennis, Kirby did beat me in Wii Tennis. But really, who would have thought that a special education classroom would have a Nintendo Wii and an iPad for the students to use in classroom activities? Kirby is truly in an amazing place. Jackie, also surprised us by giving Kirby’s wheelchair a birthday makeover, with pink sparkles everywhere. After that, Kirby really looked like a true birthday princess.
Kirby’s birthday celebration continued that evening with a pizza party and even more baked goods from our wonderful neighbor, Claudia. The evening’s celebration was wonderful as our whole family came together to just spend time relaxing with Kirby.
At the end of the night, I looked back on the day. It was incredible to see how many people came together to make sure Kirby had a wonderful day. Kirby had a house full of flowers, gifts and cards, a decorated wheelchair, baked goods from new and old friends, and a group of friends and family that were willing to do anything to make her day special. On that one day, I didn’t think a second about the uncertain future. All I thought about was Kirby, and I was truly happy.