This last Saturday, my son turned 6. He knew full well that his day was approaching fast.
There was talk during dinner time..
Soon? How many more days, Mom?
About 15, honey.
We would discuss it when I picked him up from school…
About 12 more days.
I understand his feelings. I really do. Before he was born (and a few times afterward), it was me chomping at the bit days before my birthday. I got to feel special. I was worthwhile to be around. I was Important. Things that my depression and anxiety would steal from me most of the year. But on my birthday, that all went away. Those weeks leading up, the days leading up, the hours…. I felt good. Like pompous-yet-not-overly-so good.
Okay, a little pompous. But mostly good.
I would fight harder on the days leading up to my big day because I had a glowing beacon ahead of me. It looked like a million candles on a red velvet cake and Saturday mornings watching American Bandstand. It was a giant bowl of Lucky Charms cereal that I could swim inside. It was seeing Spain as a sixteen year old girl. It was the smell of a new journal. It was a butterfly colored flutter-full of awesome. It was like getting kissed for the first time again…over and over.
That is how my birthday would make me feel.
Now, I see my boy. Bright-eyed as he inquires again and again…Soon, mom?
I could give him the calendar and X off the days prior to his special day. I could see his excitement build with each passing day. I could live vicariously through him because my birthday is 3 days before his. It would be as it usually is now. My day would be full of treats from my husband and handmade cards from my children. It may or may not include dinner out because our plans for the boy would financially set us back on the month’s budget. It’s something I’ve gotten used to.
My boy comes first now, as it should be when you have children. Your selfish desires get put on the back burner.
This year was no exception: plans on Saturday and Sunday. The concert, the presents and the party with friends. Even if we make something small, like a gathering at home, it can range in the hundreds for cost.
But then, I see his eyes. I see his smiles as he witnesses his first concert. I see his joy as he bounces on trampolines with friends. I see him hug each and everyone of his peers and family members as he thanks them for coming. I see his gratefulness.
After the weekend has ended, my sweet boy comes to me as I sit on the couch. The gifts have all been opened. The friends have all since gone home. It’s now a moment of just him and me. He crawls into my lap and tucks his long legs up to fetal rock in my arms. His head laying inside the crook between my neck & shoulder and his eyes are closed. All that shows emotion is the sweet smile on his face.
That’s my Saturday morning watching American Bandstand, That’s my candles on a red velvet cake. My bowl of Lucky Charms, my first day in Spain. On the face of this child, I have every gift I ever wanted.
Every birthday I could ever desire.
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