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Birthdays and Social Norms

Last week was Luca's birthday. He finally hit double digits, the big decade birthday... 10 years old! Every year he gets so excited for his birthday. He loves to celebrate, have cake, eat his favorite foods and get to do something HE wants to do.

This year happened as it usually does. He woke up to a new bike and jars full of spicy/sweet foods he could taste and try. He also requested to have some friends come over for cake/cupcakes and to sing Happy Birthday. In his mind, this is key to a birthday celebration. According to Luca, you don't actually change to your new age until the Happy Birthday song has been sung and you take your first bite of cake. For adults reading this, No, it doesn't work in reverse. There is nothing you can do to stop the aging process, so sing the song and eat the cake and celebrate another year!

Here is where the social norm peice comes into play. The kids came over and they all played for a while. When it came time to sing and eat cake, Luca sang louder than any of his friends. He loves these moments so much, he just sings with every fiber of his being. This too happens every year and I love it. The last few years, I've noticed how the kids look at one another as Luca belts out 'Happy Birthday To Luca' and they smile. And in that moment I say a little prayer that Luca will never catch on to this social norm of not singing Happy Birthday to yourself. I pray, "Please God, let him ALWAYS be this excited about life and unafraid of what others think."

These are the beautiful moments of autism and why I think so many of our social norms are a load of shit. Who says we can't sing to ourselves, to celebrate the years as they go by and think, 'Damn! Another year and look at all I've done!' Thank you Luca for another beautiful life lesson.

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