Birthday Part 3: The Actual Day and Lion King 3D

This is the last birthday celebration post. We had so much fun that it was just too much to cram into one post; hope you aren't tired of the big 4 hullabaloo. To be honest it has been nice for us to reflect on this milestone and truly appreciate all the good things for Gwendolyn — which so many of you are a big part of!

We have a tradition on Gwendolyn's birthday — it started with her first birthday just naturally and we've just kept it up as our special little family thing. On Gwendolyn's actual birthday we start the day by singing to her in her bedroom, she gets dressed in a special outfit that she selects, we spend the morning opening gifts, then listen and watch birthday wishes from friends and family, and then we always do something she has never done before. No matter what the day falls on, we cancel all appointments, therapy sessions, etc. and Bill takes the day off work so the three of us can celebrate our little girl and start her next year with a fun adventure. And this year it was taking Gwendolyn to her first movie at a movie theater — Lion King 3D!

To say she loved it is an understatement. Gwendolyn was practically panting while we were still at home getting ready. But I'm getting ahead of myself… Gwendolyn picked out her special birthday outfit days ahead of time — a Wizard of Oz dress made by our friend Maru in Mexico. The dress is absolutely precious and Maru thought of every detail: buttons, pockets, an apron… and what is extra special is she even included lace that was her late grandmother's! After opening her pressies that morning, Gwendolyn also wanted to wear her new cozy Dorothy poncho our friend Jaime (Nora's mom) made which was perfect for our brisk day — it even has a G in ruby red sequins (Gwendolyn practically swooned!).

When we told Gwendolyn we were going to see Lion King at the big movie theater she knew exactly what we meant. A few weeks ago on her way home from preschool with Bill she heard the ad for it with, of course, its famous music. When the ad ended she freaked wanting Bill to play it again, so he patiently explained what an ad is, etc. (Kids these days!) The next day Gwendolyn's awesome nurse Evelyn told her all about the 3D version at the theater, about the special glasses, and the big screen. So when we asked Gwendolyn if she'd like to see Lion King 3D at the movie theater, she couldn't get her eye rolls and “guh” out fast enough. So off to the movies we went.

It's funny, going to the movies at one point was one of those things we didn't think we could do with Gwendolyn. Enclosed space, sick people, loud noises, dark lighting, viewing accessibility for her — it seemed too scary. But now here we are and Gwendolyn is four and now everything seems possible. And this was easy. There was only one other family in the theater, she sat right next to me in the wheelchair accessible area and could see the big screen perfectly fine, and I guess we are just more confident now because I only felt nervous for a millisecond. Gwendolyn was so darn excited, tapping feverishly, that instead of worried I sat there thinking how lucky I am to see a movie at the movie theater through her eyes.

The movie was a big hit. At one point she wanted to hold my hand (the sad part) and then later she was singing along to the music. When we got home Gwendolyn opened her final gift — a new playhouse from Mommy and Daddy. Let's just say she has packed her bags and moved in smile