The Key of the Door

So, 21 years ago today, at 5.57, Joshua Fred entered the world and changed our lives forever. When we became pregnant, in our wildest dreams, we had no idea just how much his arrival would change our lives. During my pregnancy, it never entered my head that Joshua might not be perfect. I never contemplated that 21 years later, I could still be changing nappies and making most of his choices for him. It is a spectacular achievement for him to reach the ripe old age of 21, given the health issues that he has shown over the years and , more importantly, that he should be as happy as he seems to be. So this is what I will be celebrating today and not the start of independent living that most 21 year olds tend to celebrate. The ‘Key of the Door’ at 21 historically signified reaching adulthood and the independence that brought with it. Joshua is chronologically an adult, but he will never achieve true independence.

That being said, Joshua had his second successful visit to Daycare yesterday and he seems to have loved it once again. So he achieved independence from his parents between 10 am and 3pm, when they took him on an outing to a local aquarium and the photographs shows how much he enjoyed himself . When I arrived to collect him, he was sitting in his coat waiting and he was grinning from ear to ear. He leapt up and gave me three big bear hugs as I was hearing about his day. They had all enjoyed the chocolate cake that I had sent in to mark his imminent birthday.

We went straight from there to the hairdressers where he was booked in for a smart haircut as his curls had been untamed all year. When he was tiny, it was a three person job : one to cut his hair, carefully, one of us to hold his hands ,which were like an octopus trying to grab the scissors and one to hold his head still as he would thrash his head about in objection. My grown up young man sat neatly in the hairdressers chair, awaiting his trim, gazing at himself in the mirror and trying to catch the eye of the young junior. In the end I asked her to stand in his line of vision as he was twisting his head off virtually, to try to get a glimpse of her. I did have to hold his hand a little, but this client was a calmer, happier version of his former self. As I was paying the bill, the hairdresser even managed to trim his bushy moustache and beard, which needed doing but seemed too risky to ask for. It seemed that he sat beautifully still if I remained quiet and distant, but as soon as I approached, he began to mess around again. So I joked that next time, I would simply drop him off and go shopping – now that would be an incredible milestone to achieve and a feat of true independence.

So it was 5pm before we got home, having left at 9.30 in the morning, which was a long day. I removed his boots and within minutes, he was fast asleep on the settee, happily worn out. He has had a good nights sleep so far, which he will need as he has a busy weekend of socialising ahead : we are having a birthday lunch at home with 11 friends and family today and then an afternoon tea with 16 family members tomorrow! I will let him sleep as late as he needs, so that he is fully refreshed and ready to embrace his birthday weekend fully.

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