Elijah came into this world on a Sunday morning. One of the first calls I made was to our Pastor at Church. He announced Elijah's arrival to the congregation that Sunday morning. We always hear people say things like, “that man or woman touched a lot of people's lives.” I think after Elijah’s Birthday party I have a better understanding of what that means. How one little boy can touch so many lives. He can inspire people to live, he can point people to trust Jesus Christ.
I looked at Nicki a few days before Elijah’s party and said, “you are going all out with this party.” I saw Nicki spend several weeks making robot decorations and buying party foods. Her sister Alanna made a cool party invitation that we handed out to friends, family, and neighbors. We knew people would ask, “what should we get for Elijah.” He can’t play with toys like other seven year old boys. We knew he would enjoy a swing, so we asked for one. Elijah has so many friends, many of whom he has never met. Many of them we have never met. The day of the party it was awesome to see many of them in one place. His school teachers showed up while he was outside in his chair. He heard their voices and we could tell in his face, and in his eyes, that a familiar person was there. Like a boy running around playing with his friends making fighting sounds and hitting things with sticks, Elijah in the back and forth movements of his eyes and his head was overjoyed by the excitement of that day and all the sound from the people. I can see him laying on the floor as his sister Grace opens her Birthday presents. Their Birthday's are only a week apart. I guess it is a blessing to have birthdays so close to each other. Grace can help Elijah blow out the birthday candles and open his presents. Elijah did not care for cake and presents, he knows birthdays are not about presents. The presents would not be that special without the people who celebrate with you. Elijah had so many people celebrate with him that day.
The amazing people at Elijah's school saw his invitation and our request for a swing and many individuals took it upon themselves to gather all the funds needed to purchase the swing. On behalf of his friends at school Elijah’s two teachers presented the gift. It was almost enough to cover the entire cost of the swing. The rest of the gifts we were able to put in his account to put toward a wheelchair van. It was a moment of joy. I was overwhelmed. I wanted to hug every person who gave their money for Elijah but more than that they all showed real love. What a treasure to be Elijah’s Father.
At the end of the day we put Elijah down to sleep. No sleeping medication was needed that day. The excitement was enough. When I asked Nicki about the effort she was putting into this party she said, “We don’t know how many birthday parties we will have to give him.”
It may sound sad, and I guess it is, but does anyone know how many birthdays they have? I guess it makes you think about how you look at each day of your life. A birthday is not celebrating just another year, but another year God has given you to live.
I know every day cannot be a party with balloons and cake and cool Robot music but we can cherish our son, like he is a priceless diamond we traveled thousands of miles to find. Look at every little child in that way. Life is a precious gift not to be wasted.