We used to have a Raggedy Ann and Andy book in which one of the characters wished on his birthday that he could have a birthday party every day. It came true, and you can guess what happened. He got really sick of cake. And party games. And even opening presents.
Still, around here, I like to stretch ’em out at least a few days. Drew just turned 8. He got his present from us first thing in the morning. Then we had cake and another present with one grandmother that night. The next day we blew up balloons and made his favorite meal and yet another cake and had more presents with the other side of the family. Then today he went to a friend’s house and came home with yet another gift.
There’s something about my children having birthdays that reminds me of everything that is best and most wonderful in my life. You can think of them as huge responsibilities, and they are. You can think of all the things they need, all you want to give them, all you can’t afford. Or you can think about how little it takes to please them. Really cool presents make them excited. But it’s the everyday stuff that makes them know they’re loved. And do you ever notice how safe they feel? They sometimes go to bed afraid of sharks (though we live in Missouri) but never of the actual terrible things in the world against which I bend over their heads and pray with all my heart every single night. They kick their feet up in twelve-year-old furniture without any thought about its age, while all I can think about in that particular chair is how many fruit loops might be in its crevices or how many spills it’s seen. Poor chair.
The kids are the least judgmental thing in my life, the greatest proof that despite lousy Mondays here and there, we’re basically very happy, very rich (of the Ma and Pa variety, not so much the Brangelina one). So when they have a birthday, it’s like a birthday for me. An anniversary of yet another day that our family grew a little more complete and even happier still.
So yesterday when the big red balloons still hung above the door jams and from various wall hangings, Monday didn’t really seem all that Mondayish at all. It was birthdayish. And every time I saw Drew and he was playing with one of his new transformers or counting his birthday money, I remembered only the good things. And I was so thankful for that.