Monday, January 17, 2011

Two Sucky Parents and One Sweet Little Boy

Yesterday, my baby boy turned eight years old. It's unbelievably difficult to believe that eight years have passed. Eight years ago, my entire world changed. Everything I had ever thought my life would be--everything I thought I valued....everything I thought was of utmost importance--was turned upside down by the arrival of that chubby, bald, blue-eyed, dimpled bundle.

I am feeling a bit guilty this morning. Lucas' birthday falls a mere three short weeks after Christmas. His bedroom floor is still littered with the remnants of Christmas presents. He has presents from Christmas stacked in his room that he has yet to touch. And then here comes his birthday with its presumption of even more presents. Yes, I know. It is completely and totally unfair to penalize Lucas in the gift department because he just so happened to be born close to the biggest gift-giving holiday of the entire year. However, realistically and logistically speaking, where are we supposed to put even more toys?!

When Sophie and Nicholas turned four years old on June 18th, we had an all-out barbecue bash for their birthday. We invited everyone we knew and had a grand old time. The theme was cute little monkeys and I made cupcakes and used banana Runts as toppers. I also baked a homemade strawberry cake for the adults to enjoy. We went all out. In our defense, however, their birthday coincided with our second annual Pride Barbecue. We merely combined the two and celebrated Pride and their birthday simultaneously. We had burgers and hot dogs. We had the fire pit going. We had s'mores. We had coolers packed full of beer and juice boxes. Despite being the single hottest day of the entire summer, a good time was had by all. As you can imagine, Sophie and Nicholas received gifts galore.

For Lucas' birthday yesterday, we had a significantly smaller party. There was no "theme." Low-key. Just chocolate cake and Neapolitan ice cream (Lucas' favorite) at our house. The only people in attendance were Ruanita and I, his brother and sister, his grandmother, and his two cousins and their moms. He received significantly fewer presents than Sophie and Nicholas received at their last birthday party. To make matters even worse, one of the presents Ruanita and I had bought him was defective. We gave him a new Wii game that did not work. It started, but then froze and would not play. We promised him that we would take him out today to pick out a new Wii game.

I know...we suck. His birthday just kind of snuck up on us. We were still recovering from Christmas. We knew his birthday was approaching, but damn if it didn't arrive WAY quicker than we anticipated. So what did my baby boy think about his decidedly sucky birthday party? He was thrilled beyond belief. He loved his presents. He loved his cake. He loved his generic party decorations. He grinned from ear to ear the entire day. If he noticed that his party was smaller than his siblings' party, he did not mention it. If he noticed that he did not receive as many presents, he kept quiet about it and was happy with what he received. Despite his parents' all-around ineptitude and pervasive suckiness, he enjoyed his party.

Occasionally, in this grueling job called parenthood, a child will give you a tiny glimpse into the person he will become. If you are lucky, every once in a rare while, you will be rewarded with a moment. A flash. A brief glance into the heart of your child. Yesterday, I was awarded such an honor. For a fleeting moment, I envisioned the man my son will become. Kind. Generous. Happy. Appreciative. Even when we discovered that his Wii game was defective, he responded with, "That's ok," and resumed playing with his other gifts. Where did this child come from? When did my baby boy become such a considerate young man?

This weekend, Ruanita and I are going to take Lucas to the science museum for the second part of his birthday present. A day entirely committed to Lucas. The twins will stay with my sister so Ruanita and I can devote ourselves to Lucas. Being the total science geek he is, he is extremely excited. And I have to admit, the dweeb in me is looking forward to it, as well.

My sweet eight-year-old son definitely deserves better than a third-rate party and a broken Wii game. Next year, we are totally upping our game.


poppycat said...

What a great little boy you have there.

I was going to suggest that giving the gift of experiences and one-on-one time might be a great alternative to toys for someone with a bday that close to xmas. I smiled big when I saw your plans to take him to the science museum. He's going to love it and will remember it long after he's outgrown all those toys.

Jessica said...

Kids are pretty amazing like that. I had something similar with Audrey's birthday last year--she kind of got the shaft compared to Hunter. But I don't think they make those comparisons (they aren't feeling the guilt that we feel as parents). They are just happy to have their own birthday and feel special. And poppycat is so right--experiences will far outlive toys any day!

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