A special day... my boy turns three!

WoW! columnist Julie Helen reflects on life as mum, as her son celebrates his third birthday
A special day... my boy turns three!

Julie Helen, whose son turns three today.

THIS week of the year is probably my favourite one. It has been my favourite now for three years because our lovely little boy turns three years old on Friday.

Since he has been in my world, everything is considerably more positive. Having purpose has always been very important to me throughout life, but the purpose of being a Mum to Ricky has changed the very fabric of my being.

There are days I feel tired and drained, but then he will place his gorgeous little arms around my neck and twirl my hair and all the tensions melt away. I love those moments and I feel like I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

The limitations of my physically disabled body feel tiny when I hold my son. He only needs my love, which I have in spades, and everything else we seem to be able to figure out as we go along.

As Ricky approaches being a ‘three-nager’, it feels like a milestone. I remember being three. Diarmuid was born when I was three and a half and a have a very clear memory of the first time I saw him. I remember when he came home for the first time, when he was three months old on Christmas Eve. I remember his green teddy, I remember Mum putting him on the floor on a blanket with me. I remember thinking he was incredibly cute. I remember Mum being really happy but looking worried at the same time. I remember Dad being all business looking after his family.

We often hear about core memories these days and they only begin beyond three years of age for most kids. 

This means that the memories that Ricky makes from now on could be things he remembers forevermore. The foundations of how he views himself, others and the world around him can form and develop from now on.

Last weekend, we went to see Santa as a family of three. It was cold and dry, a perfect winter’s day. We had checked with the Model Railway in Clonakilty that the Polar Express experience was wheelchair accessible. I felt nervous before we went because it was the first time my ability to access the environment could impact on my son.

As is always the case, there were a few times throughout our visit that I had to take an alternative direction to avoid steps. In fairness, I never got stuck anywhere and staff were helpful in navigating around.

The only fly in the ointment was Ricky being a bit unsure when I would suddenly be driven off in the other direction and separated from him and David. As far as my boy is concerned, I just need my wheelchair, it is a fact of life, a place where he can sit. He wanted to be with me because I am Mum. There was one time staff brought me in another door so I ended up at the other side of the train to Ricky, so he immediately marched his way through the crowd to me. I admired his gumption and insistence that we get to be together, because that’s way the world should be.

There have been countless times at different events that I could only have one ‘companion’ with me at concerts, boarding planes, even in school, the initial rule was one friend could stay with me.

That changes now, because my family is growing and they will demand my presence. Happy birthday Ricky, my wonderful, kind, caring and funny sidekick. The world is so much more magical with you in it!

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