5/18/2006

A very belated Happy Birthday to our funny, sunny 13 year old!

This is extremely late. Hard to believe Nick turned 13 two weeks ago already. I had intended to get this up much earlier but time just has a way of getting away from me. I want to give Nick his props because he is my hero. I met Nick when he was 22 months old. It was love at first site for both of us. Ed had Nick every other weekend and for time in the summer and during holidays so we made the most of our time. Nick was this little bundle of bustling energy with these huge brown eyes. He was sweet and cuddly and loved to be hugged and cuddled. I remember Nick always saying "pickee up, pickee up" and indeed he would spend most of his time on my hip. This cuddly little bug and I had loads of fun playing, shopping and having "book festivals" (me reading and Nick listening - his favourite books were Katy and the Snowstorm, Blueberries for Sal and any Dr. Seuss book). Nick's favourite movies when he was three were "Beauty and the Beast," "All Dogs go to Heaven" and "Farmtastics" (the ultimate movie about John Deere - it actually got stuck in the VCR it was played so many times and we had to have it surgically removed). He cried during The Hunchback of Notre Dame (this kid has a deep soul). We always had so much fun and I always had a difficult time believing that his biological mom never cuddled or played with him. He was this absolute cutie patootie. When Nick was 5 and 1/2 he was abducted by his biological mom(parental abduction is becoming so much more common). The judge ruled it "surreptious removal (which of course meant his mom wouldn't get charged)," but Nick experienced it as a kidnapping. It was a terrifying experience for Nick. The next 3 years involved us having lawyers in two different provinces and fighting for custody of Nick. We wouldn't have fought so hard for custody if Nick was happy and safe but his biological mother was abusive and cruel and with the help of husband #3 psychologically terrorized him and physically abused him. The sunny boy we had known became so changed and sad and hopeless. Several times he tried to hurt himself and was overheard on more than one occasion by teachers saying he wished he could die. It was, needless to say such a dark time for us. I had become sick, my sister had died and we never knew if Nick was going to survive another day. Prior to becoming sick I worked as a psychotherapist primarily with traumatized kids so I had some inkling to the damage Nick was experiencing. Nick is such a survivor though. He had this fantastic fantasy life and we had 45 minute phone calls every other night that he worked so hard to make the most of. It is so hard to comfort a child who is in pain, fear and despair. Nick finally came to live with us when he was 8 (it took 3 years in this crappy system that has no compassion or understanding of the lives of children) and slowly but steadily he has flourished. He learned to skate at 8 (his mom would not let him skate or take part in other activities) and he showed serious pluck. Last year he won an award for the best attitude in the United Counties Hockey League and this year he made the rep team and won an award for Most Improved Player. After not being able to read or write well (survival tends to take up a lot of time and energy) Nick has become an avid reader, far beyond his Grade level and his writing is creative and imaginative. He slept in our bedroom for the first year and a half after he came to live with us (fears of being taken again) but slowly his fears are becoming less and the laughter and joy are taking it's place. He has such strength, courage and determination. Nick has a will to live that impresses me. Nick plays the piano, the guitar, sings and took part in a community drama show last fall. He has a great sense of humour and wit and he loves to cook. We have worked to love our little boy believing that love heals so much. We have nutured his soul and his imagination; he is my renaissance boy. He has learned how to cross stitch and knit (although trucks, tractors and cars remain his first passion). And he loves hand knits! We are grateful for the opportunity to take care of Nick and appreciate every day he is with us. Nick had a great birthday! He got some great gifts (his favorite was the remote control Air Hog from Ed and I, the sweet set of golf clubs from my mom and dad, and the Detroit Red Wings - his favourite team - jersey he got from Carole). We went to his favourite Thai restaurant and then he went for a four day sleep-over at Sheree's. When he knew I would be blogging about his birthday he said it would be great if I could advertise for a toy drive for him (did I mention how cheeky this kid is??); he has been watching all these parcels and things arriving for Gracie. While I reminded him that this is so not the point, I did tell him I would work on a travel itinerary for him ( he already wants to go to Christy's) - so no gifts for Nick but if you would be willing to have him come and stay with you let him know (and where you live) and he can get excited about how popular he is and all the travels he can enjoy in the future. He is quite an adventurer and he will eat anything (and I am so serious about this - when we went to Newfoundland a couple of years ago he loved dining on cod cheeks and tongues and was truly disappointed that he wasn't able to indulge in Seal Flipper Pie. Yuk! He eats every kind of vegetable; he is not that keen on Swiss Chard tough. We love our spuba and we wish him a super duper 13th year!

37 comments:

thordora said...

What a handsome boy! He looks strong and wise. Happy Birthday Nick!

pacalaga said...

YAY, happy birthday Nick! Sorry dude, you're too old for little stuffed animals through the mail!

Samantha said...

Happy Birthday Nick! I'm sure you'll have to beat the girls off with a stick, Cynthia -- you've got one handsome fella there. :)

AmyArtisan said...

A Belated Happy Birthday to Nick! What a great tribute post about him Cynthia! You're blessed to have each other as family! :)

kelli ann said...

happy birthday, nick! what a wicked smile... thanks for sharing his story, and your story together...

JessaLu said...

Happy Birthday, Nick! :o)

Lucia said...

Happy birthday, Nick!

amanda said...

Happy belated Birthday to Nick! Y'all share a really great story -- I especially like the ones with happy endings :o)

Vicki Knitorious said...

Oh, my goodness, you're not kidding about the "sunny" part, are you? So sweet and happy and fun-loving -- I'm smiling right back at his face in all those pictures... smiling so hard that I've got tears in my eyes. It's nice he knows how to relax and be pampered, too. ; )

Happy Birthday, Nick!!

Ramona said...

What an amazing story. Happy Birthday Nick!

Carole said...

That's inspiring! Happy Birthday, Nick!

celia said...

Happy birthday Nick!

If you come to Australia, we'll take you out for some unusual food (I'm Chinese and I know all about strange food!). We may not have a place for you to stay, but food we've got plenty of! :)

Christy said...

Hi Nick,
I still owe you some sand so you can smell Florida. I haven't been to the beach in months, but as soon as I get there, I promise...sand for you! And as long as I live in Florida,(and even if we move to a less interesting place) you are welcome to come and stay with us. Happy Birthday!

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for sharing your story with us. Nick sounds like a great kid. My kids loved Blueberries for Sal, too! Kerplink, kerplunk, kerplonk..
Happy Birthday Nick!

Celia said...

Come and visit us in California, Nick! Our boy just left.

canknitian said...

Even more wishes for a happy birthday Nick!! I hope this is your best year yet!

Drop by anytime. :)

Pink One aka Dawn said...

Hey Nick,

Happy belated B-Day. Your Mom is right, I know first hand what a great kid you are.

All the best and hope to see you soon.

Luv Dawn

Jennifer said...

He sounds like such a sweet boy. Happy birthday!

Sorka said...

Happy Birthday dude!! come on down to Ohio any time!!
We always have a room at the ready!!
Keep up all that great positive stuff you have going on! Nothing can beat that!!
Denise
knitchat.com

somebunnysloveDOTcom said...

Hi Nick!
A very Happy Belated Birthday to a handsome you. If you ever want to visit Rhode Island let us know! This tiny state has some cool places to check out.
=:8

Melissa said...

Happy Birthday! E-mail when you're up for a trip to Louisiana!

Teyani said...

Hey Nick ! Wanna come and play with the goats & sheep ? You just missed shearing day, but maybe when you get a bit older you can help ! Not much "weird" stuff to eat, but we've got plenty !
Many hugs go out to you thru cyber-space. Every year gets better and better from now on - and you know, I think the toy drive idea was pretty clever (grins)Happy belated birthday - you're one great kiddo.
(nice tribute Cynthia)

Kelly said...

Happy belated birthday Nick!

Teresa said...

Happiest of (belated) Birthdays Nick!!

Shell said...

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday!
Happy Birthday!
Happy Birthday to you!

Rhonda said...

Glad to hear you had a Happy Birthday, Nick. Keep smiling that wonderful smile of yours & enjoy the love that surrounds you ... you have a loving family & I bet you have many great friends too. Who could resist that smile?!

p.s.
I bet you learned to knit for survival from the Two Sticks yarn STASH that surrounds you, huh? J

Miss Scarlett said...

Beautiful story - I am so happy for you Nick & Cynthia - you belong together.

I agree with the previous posters - gorgeous boy with a stunning smile!

You can survive and triumph over anything with love and support - on Nick's behalf I thank you Cynthia and Husband for fighting for a child's right to be cared for.

amanda cathleen said...

WhooOOOT!! Happy Birthday!!! : D

Lisa said...

Happy Brithday Dear Nick! Colorado is waiting for you!

jackie said...

Oh My, Cindy,
I just got around to reading about Nick! You are so lucky to have eachother. I know what you meant about the screwed up 'child welfare" sysyem that we have to deal with, where they think that the 'biological mother" is the best to take care a child, never mind what the mother is like. They seem to forget that all it takes to be a biological parent is working equipment. To be a true parent takes so much more. You have it and I am glad for Nick that you were willing and able to fight for him.

Knittymama said...

Happy Birthday Nick!

What a saga...I am always amazed at the resiliency of children!

Dani said...

Nick sounds like an amazing young man, destined to become an even better grown up. And I heart anyone who shares my love of hockey, so tell Nick he has a friend on Long Island! (And I wish I had known before I mailed out your package...)

Jenn said...

He's lucky to have a mom like you! Having a strong relationship with your parents really molds the person that you will be when you grow up. Nick sounds like he's heading down the right track. :-)

Dipsy D. said...

Happy belated birthday, Nick! What a cutie he was, and what a handsome boy he grew up to be - and added to that he's a hockey player, yay for that! Thanks so much for sharing this story with us, it's a truly touching one. All the very best, and may all his dreams come true!

Lauren said...

Glad you had a great birthday Nick!

Come on down to Maine!! We will get you to eat the lobstah tamale *yuck!!!* and other squishy gross things. =)

Dorothy said...

Now, now, Seal Flipper Pie is really tasty!! The flippers are the best part. It's kind of like buffalo meat. Highly beneficial too.
He could travel anywhere in Newfoundland and never want for a welcoming smile, a cup of tea and a story.

Buttonknows said...

Hi Nick,
A belated, belated Happy Birthday!! We met a few years ago at the Sock Club. I see you still have that great smile and sweet way. I may see you on Sunday.

Love,
Carol