Saturday, October 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Nicolas!!!

Today, you are eighteen. How quickly the years have passed, some great ones, and some so very hard. You have overcome huge obstacles and today marks a special milestone in your very triumphant and successful life. You are on the brink of manhood, ready to began achieving your dreams. You are a miracle, and it has been my privilege to watch this miracle unfold.

Is it really sixteen years that have flown by since I first saw you at the age of two in the ICU at Doernbecher Hospital? It doesn't seem possible. It is like yesterday, walking into your room, looking at one of the sickest little kids, yet one of the cutest, I had ever seen. You were one week after your accident, three weeks after your Mom's death, and you were in critical condition. You were wrapped in iron from your "halo" which kept your broken neck steady, had a feeding tube and pump, and were on a respirator to help your lungs heal.

HOWEVER, out of that maze of tubes and iron, were a pair of the brownest, inquiring eyes I have ever seen!! You looked at me, sized up the bag of tricks I had with me, and watched with avid interest as I began to unload my bag. At that moment, you moved into my heart and there you have firmly stayed, my sweet grandson of my heart!

When you finally left ICU, you were transferred to Emmanuel Hospital for pediatric rehab. Do you remember any of those days? I've told you lots of stories about those weeks. You were finished with your tubing and despite "mine halo" as you called it, you were a happy, smiling little boy with an amazing vocabulary, I was to discover, after you could talk again!!

Do you remember all of the trips we took that first summer to rehab? We rode that Tri-Met lift bus for hours....and hours. You usually had your afternoon nap on the bus as we came back to your home.

Despite the hard work of Rehab, we had lots of fun times together. You loved the playroom at Shriners, were a little apprehensive about getting your legs casted for your first braces, but loved playing with the child life specialist who always told you ahead of time with toys and play, what was going to happen. There were many wonderful people in your life who helped with your rehabilitation. I know you remember many of them.

As I allowed myself to travel down this road we have traveled together for the last sixteen years, I am reminded of so many fun things we did together. It wasn't all rehab and doctor appointments, although it felt like it at times.

You came to my house often and I remember the summer you were four and I had you for a week. We read through all of the four boxes of the 'Bob Books' and a reader was born!! Oh my, was a reader born!!! You have continued to read far above grade level all through your school years.

Do you remember outings to the Children's Museum? You thought the water room belonged to you and got very upset if anyone else even played in there.

A wonderful ride on the Lake Oswego Trolley--

Then there were all of our trips to visit Santa at the downtown Meier and Frank. We always went on Max with a large group of friends and family for many years.

I can't forget your choir experience.

Today we celebrate your birthday. It cannot go by without mentioning the wonderful achievement you have accomplished. Earlier this year I wrote about you getting your new car. After many hours of practice and getting your car retrofitted just for your needs, you have your DRIVER'S LICENSE! That is so exciting and I see a 'new you'. You have a lilt in your voice and I can feel the wind beneath your wings, as you enjoy this wonderful new independence you have earned. I am soooo proud of you, Nicolas!

And here you are getting ready for take off!
The chair had to be loaded...
Its in...
You are in the car and almost ready.... to go!

.....and you are off down the hill to the big world beyond.

....and so, my sweet Nicolas, the years have passed in a blink of an eye. You have grown into a very self-sufficient young man, totally independent, despite the adversity you have endured. You are an OVER-COMER, A WINNER, AN OUTSTANDING YOUNG MAN, and you stand on the brink of the rest of your life. The future is before you. I shall look for great things from you, my sweet boy!

Happy, Happy Birthday! May your life be lived to the glory of God, and may you be used mightily for Him. God bless you, Nick! I love you so much.


Kim said...

Neat story, Joan!

We're in the middle of Bob Books right now...trying to create another reader in the family. :D

Do they still have a trolley in Lake O?

Devita said...

Happy Birthday Nicholas!! i am happy for you:D

God Bless...

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful tribute to a WONDERFUL young man!!!!! We love you, Nick!

Bill and Carol

sister sheri said...

Happy Birthday, Nicolas! What wonderful memories!

The Farm House Kids said...

Happy Birthday Nick!

Joan, what a wonderful story!


Anonymous said...

Wow Joan what an incredible story of love and perseverence! My eyes were misty watching this strong amazing little boy become an even stronger amazing young man! Happy Birthday to you Nicolas!!

DidiLyn said...

Hi, I found you via another blog and am so happy I came over here. I am wiping tears from my eyes after reading your birthday tribute to Nick.
That was awesome and I feel good just reading about him....and you.
Thank you so much for sharing your love for him.

Anonymous said...

A LONG CHALLENGING JOURNEY, filled with love, hard work, prayer and then more hard work. Every "Nicolas" should have a "Grandma Joan" in their life. You are both blessed.

Technonana said...

Oh Joan!!! What an amazing story of love and preseverance!!! I know that as that car pulled off so did your heart!!! Great Job, Mom!!!
And I hope Nick had a really wonderful day... you both deserve it!!!

Ruthie said...

What a wonderful tribute to a special young man. You write about it all so beautifully. You should write a book about all your experiences!

scrappy jen d said...

Dearest Joan an Nicholas,

Happy Birthday and I think it is totally AWESOME to SEE Nicholas driving his own car!!!!!
What a wonderful thing it is to see him so proud and happy!
He's glowing!
Love, Jen.

Anonymous said...

Wow Joan...I imagine you have been an amazing person all your life...I read this blog in awe of what you have done for other people.
Carole x

tyrymom29 said...

WOW, What an amazing STORY .......And what an inspiration !!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY NICK!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Happy Bithday, Nick. What a great young man you are! Keep up the good work. I'm looking forward to going for a ride in that car. Thanks, Aunt Joan, for your care for Nick. It is inspirational.

Amy said...

What a great story for sure!!!! Happy Birthday! :)