Birthdays

August 25, 2006 at 3:06 pm (Uncategorized)

Today is my birthday. Although the day marks the sad and definitive arrival of my mid (instead of my late early) thirties, I’ve had a wonderful day.

Sometime after your twenty-first birthday, the concept of celebrating the passage of another year begins to lose some of its cachet. You can vote; you can die for your country; and, most importantly, you can, at long last, legally drink. What else is there to mark after gaining the right to booze with impunity? There’s a slowing metabolism, a burgeoning gut, gray hairs, and creakier knees. No wonder my birthdays have become a little more low-keyed every year.

However, this year feels special. Andrew is old enough to appreciate the magic power of birthdays even when they’re not his own. For instance, he’s really into the whole cake concept. Jay’s birthday was earlier this week (and, I must announce, at one year older than me, he has officially entered his early late thirties, instead of my youthful mid-thirties), and Andrew chose the type of cake we would bake him, the color of the frosting, and helped me decorate it. Decorating it meant plunging his hand up to the wrist in the frosting bowl and shoving as much into his mouth as he could before I grabbed his hand and wrung some frosting back into the bowl. Then he poured half a pound of colored sugar on top and began to have a nervous breakdown because we needed to wait for Daddy to be present to eat Daddy’s cake. “Let’s just have a little lick right now,” he told me many times as I began to prepare dinner. Last night, I was sent downstairs while Jay and Andrew prepared my cake. I was relieved to hear the same sounds of an ongoing and ferocious struggle that had involved my cake-baking with my son. “No, Andrew. Give me the sugar… No, pour sugar into the bowl. No, hands not in the sugar bowl. DON’T EAT THE RAW EGG.” And so forth, ending with a sustained and high-pitched squeal from the smaller of my two boys.

Andrew has also begun to understand the concept of birthdays being days to do fun, out of the ordinary, things. So, we made extra sugary pancakes this morning. (Yet another round of, “DON’T EAT THE RAW EGG!”), visited a new park, and met Jay for lunch at Andrew’s favorite restaurant–a hot dog place with a merry-go-round in the back. It being a special day and all, Andrew got french fries with his hot dog. We then played with the elaborate Thomas the Tank Engine train set at the toy store before we headed home for story time and nap time. It was the perfect day for me.

Birthdays used to be about significant events – the turning over of decades, the gaining of new rights, the thrill of drinking until the room spun. Now I can think of nothing more meaningful than sharing a hot dog with my son and possibly giving him salmonella by baking with him. I find myself, finally, appreciating the smaller things in life. Perhaps this is simply part of the whole getting older and wiser (and fatter) equation, or perhaps it’s because I can witness the glee in my son’s eye in sharing a day with his mother, or perhaps it’s because having a chronic illness has made me realize I can’t take time for granted. Whatever the reason, I am thankful to be a year older, thankful to have such an amazing husband and son, thankful for my extended family and friends. Most of all, I am thankful for cake. Lots and lots of cake. Maybe I’ll have just one tiny little lick before dinner.

3 Comments

  1. Mellissa Welford said,

    Just wanted to send a quick post to say Happy Birthday. I am glad that you had an enjoyable day with you family. Heres to many, many more.
    Mellissa

  2. rebecca said,

    Thanks Mellisa!

  3. Paul said,

    Happy Birthday

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