Redefining Typical

A Mother, A Son, A Journey…..with Autism

It’s his birthday – 10 years old December 6, 2013


Dawson checking out his favorite videos at Toys R Us. His birthday was November 22nd, so I share with you a belated birthday post for my sweet boy.


It is his birthday.

His tenth year.

Celebrated today.

And I don’t want it to be here.

I want this most sacred special day to go away.

Because ten is a milestone birthday.

A spot I don’t want to mark.

I don’t want to holler out to the world that he has entered the world of double digits.


And my hands are shaking.

And my chest.

My heart.

The pressure on them too much.

My head on the table.

I cry.

I can’t stop.

My arms numb.

The tears too hot.

And I  move my hands  to my face.

My fingers pushing my glasses up.

And the hands that held my sweet boy for the first time ten years ago.

Those hands catch the tears of grief.


And his ten years have worn me down.

The supervision that he needed at two.

It is the supervision that he needs at ten.

And the screams and yelps that he had at three because he could not find his most perfect round ball.

They are the screams and yelps that come from his mouth now when the computer freezes or the the DVD skips.


And I see his peers.

And he is not them.

But I want him to be.

To talk.

To walk.

To run.

To jump.

To be their ten.


And it is not that I don’t love my sweet boy.

I do.

And it is not that I am not proud of him.

I am.

And it is not that he is a burden to us.

Because I will stand from the highest mountain to yell, “He is not.”


But my bones get weary.

And my eyes, they sting.

My chest.

My lungs.

They won’t breathe.

Because the grief is too much.

The grief for the little boy I wanted.

The one I did not get.

And there are no words for it.

Just the sadness.


And I pass through the tears.

Not alone.

Never by myself.

It is the dear friend who comes to my house after she hears my scratchy voice and swelling tears.

The stillness and kindness of her soul as she sits on my couch and listens.

It is my sweet neighbors who rejoice in the birth of my Dawson and celebrate his big day with cupcakes and a pinata.

And it is my Margaret-Ann.

It is Dave.

For they know the sadness.

They know the joy.

The brightness found on the other side.

They walk with me.

Through the grief.

Together we find the joy.

The love.

The miracle.

Of my Dawson.

His ten.


And we bring out his birthday presents.

The delight in his jump.

The happiness found in the air beneath his feet.

His fingers ripping open the paper.

His words.

“The rings.”

His blue eyes meeting mine.

Stacking rings.






Stacking rings that you might get for a one year old child.

My sweet boy delights in this gift.

The predictability of the round circles.

The brilliance of the colors.

The measure and cadence of stacking the assorted rings.

He finds beauty.

He finds wonder.

And through his eyes.

I find grace.

And my cup runneth over. (Psalms 23:5)

I hug my sweet boy.

My ten year old child.

The brilliant bright Dawson that is mine.

And I say.


Copyright Cheairs Graves December 6, 2013


9 Responses to “It’s his birthday – 10 years old”

  1. Diane Says:

    Wow Cheairs, you always bring me to tears with your vivid, sincere, true beautiful words. You are a poet and an amazing Mom! Can’t help but LOVE your family!

  2. Ann Davies Says:

    LOVE this post, Cheairs!!! Happy double digits to Dawson! You are a wonderful mom!

  3. Kate Says:

    Tears, every single time, not because your words are sad, but because they are beautiful and true. Happy Birthday, dear Dawson, happy birthday to you!

  4. Ms. T Says:

    Oh, Cheairs! You have me sobbing over here. Just big fat, alligator tears. I’m grieving for you too, but also celebrating you, Dawson, Dave, and Margaret-Ann. You have created an incredible family of hope, inspiration, joy, and love. While I feel your grief, I also feel your love and devotion to Dawson. He may never find the words to tell you, so I’ll say it myself, “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I love you.” You are an amazing woman and mother. Hugs all around. xo

    • Cheairs Says:

      Ms. T….as always your love is felt. There was truly such magic when he opened those stacking rings. He gasped with delight. I can still see his smile. Thank you for always holding our family!

  5. rhemashope Says:

    His ten. Yes.
    Oh how I feel these words. (Rhema will be 10 in a few months, such conflicting emotions, joy and pain co-mingled). Thank you for sharing both the truth and the grace.

    Dawson, happy belated birthday, beautiful boy! Along with your precious family, we celebrate you!

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