Monday was Bug's (also known as Cameron) Birthday. He is a huge 7!
7 years ago, I was 19, newly single (my husband had left me), and terrified. I dashed to hospital and out came Cameron. Only 3 and a half hours of labour. Cameron was a 7lb 8oz baby. The midwife wrapped him up in a blanket and handed him to me. Then she left the room to run me a bath. When my Step Dad came in to see 'the baby who had no name' he unwrapped him, and he noticed he had a 'deformed ear'. I didn't care, my baby was perfect in my eyes (although why the midwife didn't see it I don't know.) I had wanted to called 'the baby' Oliver right from the day I found out I was having a boy. His 'sperm donor' wanted to call him Tristan. So how did we get to Cameron? Well......
When 'the baby' was born, he just didn't look like an 'Oliver'. I know it sounds stupid and some people will say to me how can he not LOOK like an Oliver, what does an Oliver look like. Well I don't know, but when I looked at him I just couldn't call him Oliver. So I wondered if maybe Tristan would suit him better, but no, I couldn't see that either. So he was just 'baby'. He was literally 20 minutes old when Katrina came in. She entered the room, with her hands on her hips, aged 2 and a half, and wanted to know 'where's by baby brother Cameron then'. I have no idea where it came from, as far as I was aware she knew no one called Cameron. I looked at him, I looked at Katrina, and that was that, from then on he was Cameron. Just before I registered him, I looked at him, still unsure whether I could called him Oliver, but no, he was definitely a Cameron.
The first year of Cameron's life wasn't easy. He wouldn't really grow very well, he was constantly sick, he had lots of hospital admissions and lots of appointments. We tried almost everything going. He exhausted both our local hospital, and the nearest children's hospital with tests and poking and proding, and still no real answers. At 18 months old I was told I'd be extremely lucky if I still had him when he was 2. He was losing weight so quickly, acting like a starved child. He'd search the floor for crumbs, despite the fact he'd JUST eaten.
He'd had tests for so many different things, and everything was negative. One doctor at Brighton Children's Hospital decided that he would send Cameron to GOSH to see his 'friend'. This friend was our (now) favourite doctor. He took one look at Cameron, and decided he needed an endoscopy. From this we were told he had a rare form of Coeliac's disease (see previous post 'it's only a diet, right?). I remember that day like it was yesterday. The day I thought my whole world had ended. I was 21, and I was still getting used to parenting on my own. I went to see the Dr, and he told me I had to take gluten out of Cameron's diet. What the hell was I going to feed this small child, with bread and pasta and cakes, sausages and burgers, chicken nuggets taken away.
At the age of 3 Cameron was give a diagnosis of 'microdeletion of chromosome 16p11.2'. I accepted it and moved on. He is who he is. He is my bug. Nothing has come naturally for Cameron. Actually that's not true. His ability to love everyone and everything, animal or person, is natural. He sees the best in people, before he sees any flaws. He has so many friends at school, I'm not even sure if it's physically possible to not like Cameron! He appreciates everything, no matter how tiny. He is shy and quiet, and very well behaved 98% of the time, but somewhere beneath the surface he has an amazing, inspiring determination to defy the odds, and get on with his life.
On Cameron's birthday I found myself appreciating Cameron so much more. 5 years after we were initially told he would be alive. This year has been a huge year for him. He is no longer bottom of the class. He is reading, he is writing, he has friends, he has been going to parties, he has been really well health wise, he is starting to have his own interests, his confidence is ever growing, his personality is growing too. He is turning into an individual, and while I should have realised earlier, I didn't. Katrina has always been very independant and always had her own personality, Cameron hasn't really, or maybe I haven't realised because I have been so consumed with the medical stuff. I am starting to learn who Cameron wants to be, not who he thinks other people want him to be.
For Cameron's birthday we took him to the circus. It was a rare treat. I'm not actually sure we've ever done anything like that for the children. Katrina went out with Brownies but all 3 boys thoroughly enjoyed it. Then on the Monday Cameron went into school covered in the mandatory badges, with the usual bags of sweets for his class. He had a good day, and is having great delight at telling everyone 'I was 6......now I'm 7!'. And although he really isn't growing, and he really is tiny compared to all the other children (he's the size of a 4-5 year old) he see's himself as 'bigger'.
Don't let anyone tell you what your child will or won't do, nor how they will turn out. Be proud of who they are, not worry about who they should have been. Don't write off 'young Mum's' and don't write off 'Mental Mum's' either. Cameron continues to amaze and inspire us, and it's exciting watching his character growing, I don't know who he'll be when he's older, I don't know what he'll do, I know at his age my parents had my life mapped out. I don't have Cameron's life mapped out, I dont' care what he does in his life, as long as he does it happy, and content, and staying true to who he is. He may have had a crap start in life, but he hasn't let that define who he is, and we won't let it either.
Everyone who decided to turn their back on Cameron as a 'poorly child' or me as a 'young attention seeking mum'....screw you. You missed out on the most AMAZING child. He has taught me so much, he has changed my life, and my outlook on life for the better. I have learnt so many things that I never would have learnt if it wasn't for Cameron, and while some things I'd rather not have learnt, I wouldn't change him one little bit. Cameron may not be the 'perfect child', or a 'picture of health' but he's learnt things about life that some adults are yet to learn. Those who turned their backs on us should be ashamed of themselves, and embarrassed, but I know they won't be, they are living the life they always wanted, selfishly, while I gave up my life for Cameron, I gave up a job I loved, but I loved Cameron more. You don't deserve to be in my son's life. I hope one day, when he wants to come and find you, you kick yourself. And the only person to blame is yourself.
But for now, I will continue to love Cameron, no matter what, unconditionally, I will continue to support and encourage him in WHATEVER he wants to do, or wants to try, whether I think he can do it or not, I'm not going to be the one who tells him he can't do something. You never know until you try!
I love you Bugless. Happy Birthday little dude. Mummy will love you forever. No matter what.