I started to write two different columns this morning. Then, my alarm rang and it was time to get Kelsey up.

Before I walked across the hallway to open Kelsey's door and say, “Good Morning Petunia,” I remembered that I forgot my morning prayers.

After prayer and a two-hour bathing, dressing, breakfast, hurry to the bus “mom, I want a TV dinner,” “is it snowing,” and “can I go swimming today” Kelsey morning routine, I am finally at the computer and ready to write.

I have rethought the column topic and have decided to write about my son Jared. Today is his birthday.

It seems almost impossible to have a son who is 38. With my being in my late forties and early fifties, how can I possibly have a son this old?

Let me flash back 38 years to the Sunday when I was in labor and had checked into the hospital.

Twenty minutes later, I was sent home and told it wasn't time yet. Even though the contractions were 3 to 5 minutes apart, they discharged me.

We returned to home and bed. But the contractions didn't stop and got worse, so we headed back to the hospital.

Two days later, at 6:43 a.m., my first child was born, weighing in at 8 pounds 1 ounce and 21 1/2 inches long.

For the readers out there who have been there and done that, there were no epidurals back then.

Anyway, this was Jared's beginnings, but not his entire story.

Although Jared has grown to a gentle-natured, loving daddy to Fiona and Allister and caring husband to Emily, he was my strength in the storm for all of his siblings, especially Kelsey.

There has been a lot written about sib shops and sibling support for brothers and sisters of people with special needs. I think Jared could write a book about his experiences.

I could too. Jared was Kelsey's strength and mine. I can't say that enough.

There is 10 months between Jared and Kelsey's birthdays. They were born the same year.

When I headed to the hospital to deliver Kelsey and her twin, Jared's care was shifted to church friends.

After four months of day-to-day life with Kelsey in the NICU, when Kelsey came home, Jared came home.

Even though Jared was the older brother, he was still a baby himself.

I don't know if Jared knows just how grateful I am for his assistance, back then. May I refresh his memory?

“Jared, can you give Kelsey her bottle,” “Jared, please pick up the living room,” “Jared, can you help Adam make his bed,” “Jared, can you babysit Josh,” “can you pick up Ashley from dance,” “can you start dinner,” “can you run to the gas station,” “can you coach soccer,” “can you watch the kids during Kelsey's surgery”. . .

Poor Jared, being the oldest child, in addition to being a sibling to Kelsey, did Jared have a life outside the family?

I hope so.

Isn't that how all parents' feel?

Jared, even though I can't see you on your birthday, I want you to know that I love you very much. You have never let me down. You're a wonderful son. Happy Birthday. Love, Mom

Diane Mack is coordinator of Putting Families First, Jackson County’s Family Week Foundation. Email her at jacksoncountyfamilyweek@yahoo.com or visit www.jacksoncountyfamilyweek.org.