Sunday, March 17, 2013

Simple Birthdays

Mr. Lee turned 8 today. We've had a hand-written count-down on the fridge for a month, along with his birthday list (Chapter books - lots, MP3 player, flannel shirts, soccer ball, Mt. Dew, Ice Cream cake, $10 or $1, Sunny's)

Birthdays are always exciting, but it seems 8 is when it really hits home.

Me, being a huge fan of anticipation, loved all the hullabaloo.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Last week was Busy Extreme. We had plans every night of the week. And Thursday was Cory's birthday.

Somewhere around Tuesday night I had a meltdown (4.5 on the richter scale) wherein I cried about everything I had to do and my certainty that no one would feel loved on his birthday.

Of course the world seemed happier in the morning. So I regrouped and soldiered on.

Thursday night we made it through the day and the evening and the gymnastics and the bedtime and then, in lieu of a homecooked meal, I pulled out Cory's birthday meal: Hot wings from BW3, homemade guac, tortilla chips, salt & vinegar chips, Greek olives, pistachios, blackberries, mangoes, and mint Klondike bars. And gin & tonics. Lots of his favorite foods. We stuffed our trappers while we cackled like hyenas through 4 episodes of The Mindy Project.

Best party ever, but maybe I'm biased or maybe I'm trying to throw the cards in my favor for next year.

 This year was Calv's first friend party. 3 additional 2nd grade homeboys would be converging upon our house for 3 hours.

I'm sorry, I'm just not a party mom. I planned no games. I planned no decorations. I didn't even make a cake because he requested one from DQ.

Here's what I did to prepare: I bought 3 pizzas from Aldi and some little cans of Mt. Dew and Sprite. I bought 2 bags of chips and a tub of sour cream to mix with that dry ranch dip that I hoover up like it's my job in life.

I tidied the house up a little. I bought some helium balloons on a lark. I made Calvin take a shower because he was a crusty sweatball after lunching at the McDonald's play land.


Party rock is in the house tonight.

Exactly 90 minutes pre-party I decided something was lacking, so I fashioned a banner out of white paper plates, left-over yarn from the wreath party, and some paint.

I kept asking myself, Why didn't I do this last night? Why do I make life more difficult than it needs to be? How did I end up being this kind of mom?

I'll be honest, I sort of loved the paper plate banner.

The party ended up a raging success. The boys played rough in the basement, making forts and farts.
They threw me for a maaaaajor loop when they wiped us clean out of ranch dip. They bickered about who got the last yellow pepper! Meanwhile, I wanted it!

Behold: Party favors. Fill your pockets on your way out the door!

Those boys were so fun and cute. They were so easy to please.

Of course, we all closed the day down with a smile, knowing that the fun would continue today on his actual birthday. I fell asleep praying that he would feel extra-special today; that we would somehow bypass the emotional weight that birthdays can carry for kids world-wise enough to understand that they were "supposed" to live in a different place with different people.

I prayed that he would relax his 8-year-old shoulders in the deep grace of his dazzling, exceptional story. And that's what we did.

I can't stop loving this kid. I can't stop staring at him with his shaggy hair and his giant teeth. I caught a new glimpse of his emotional depth and his heart for truth yesterday and it's still blowing my mind today.

I say this all the time to you and I say it even more to him (to all of them!) but I can't fathom how I ever ended up with these complicated, hilarious, soulful, pitch-perfect kiddos.

Happy Birthday, Calvey.
Happy Birthday, Honey.
I hope you loved your parties.
I'm so super proud of both of you.

Right Now Calvin Really Loves:
Lego everything
Korea anything
Tae Kwan Do
Chapter books (Magic Tree House, Jake Maddox)
Liberty's Kids dvds from the library
Soccer at reccess
White rice
Chinese buffets
Toby Mac, Brandon Heath, Jake