And just like that, my firstborn turned 13, no fanfare, no parties, no sleepovers.
We bought her a cake that her youngest sister decorated, and sang her a loud birthday song in the car ride to church. I wandered the aisles of a department store later, deciding on what to buy her for her present. I have spent many years in the aisles meant for toddlers, looking at sensory toys that she should have outgrown more than a decade ago, if it wasn't for the autism.
Buying presents for my two younger ones is so much easier and less fraught with emotion.
We think Faith understands the concept of birthdays. She certainly understands the concept of cake (we have to hold her back from attacking her cake before we finish singing the song every year).
She shares the same birthday month as her mother, their birthdays are only a week apart, and together with our wedding anniversary, the month of March is always a rowdy month of celebrations.
A week after her birthday, during service, Faith suddenly reached out to me in the pews and touched my lips, as her speech therapist does with her, I suspect.
"Tooyoo, tooyoo," she vocalized.
I smiled at her quizzically. "Yes dear, tooyoo?"
I looked at the wife, and she shrugged too, not understanding what Faith meant.
Then Faith looked away, lost in thought. And then we heard it.
She was humming the Happy Birthday song, "Doo-doo-doo-doo, tooyoo, doo-doo-doo-doo, tooyoo…"
May all her dreams, whether we will ever know what they are, come true.