Friday, April 17, 2009

I blinked, and there went eleven years

It is my son's 11th birthday, and he is beside himself with happiness. I watch him from across the table, and I marvel at how he has grown and how we both have changed. Because this birthday is unlike any other, and more likely how this day will unfold for years to come. 

There will be no birthday cake slaved over for hours just to get the frosting just right. There will be no house filled with small children shrieking, or a visit from the Creature Teacher with some exotic little primate stuck in the tree in my front yard. There will be no night-before frantic filling of extra gift bags to accommodate the last-minute RSVPs that came in. There will be no fretting about the "perfect" present, or a special birthday picture. That's all chronicled in his baby albums. That is not now.

Today, he will go to school like any other day. Then he will pack up and go with his boy scout troop for a weekend campout. He doesn't want any "perfect" present, just cash, so he can save it for a video game or an iPod. He doesn't like cake. And singing "Happy Birthday" causes him to get extremely shy and pretend he doesn't know us. After which he always says "Seriously Mom!"

Everyone says that you should enjoy your children while you can, because it goes by so quickly. And when you're in the midst of diapers, potty training, sippy cups, mounds of laundry, the terrible twos, etc., you mostly think it doesn't go by fast enough. But now, today, as his duffle bag sits in the hall and the birthday cards sit on his desk, I think about how much fun he and I had. 

Today he will remember jogging around the school track for the PTA fundraiser, making s'mores with his friends and trying to sleep in a tent for his first outdoor camping trip. And while he is making new birthday memories with his friends, I'll be remembering the 10 birthdays prior and hoping that someday, he'll think about them, too.

Everything is just as it should be, but the birthday cake flavor, had I baked one, would have been bittersweet. 

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