Thursday, August 6, 2015

"it was the best eighth birthday i ever had"

ander is now eight.

he got this hat at a prior party and kept it so he could wear it and look just like iBallisticSquid of Minecraft fame

i could go into all the nostalgic, tear-inducing things about how time passes so/too quickly and he's still just my baby boy and all that, but i do that a-plenty in the privacy of my own home with him and his sister and his dad and that's not what i want to highlight here.

he gave me a precious gift for his birthday. i didn't realize it until afterwards and i've been mulling it over ever since. it fits so well into an ongoing lesson he's teaching me about seeing and appreciating what is, rather than gnashing my teeth over what is not.

having a summer birthday is tough. lots of school friends and even non-school friends opt for travel during the warmer months, meaning that ander's largish guest list was chock-full of polite "no, i really wish i could come but i will be out of town" replies.

i had excitedly procured multiple forms of watery weaponry and had planned for a significant amount of time to be spent on target practice, either on each other or at the tiny playground. we were going to have a mission for the superheroes and plenty of outdoor activities. a torrential downpour earlier in the day, coupled with an incredible heat index and now squishy outdoor surfaces doused those plans.

having put off the actual construction of the desired papier mache pinata until very too late in the game, my improvised method for drying it literally exploded (in the oven - don't ask) and the resulting odor required quick thinking on the part of my husband to flush it out of the house. my particularly poor timing meant that this happened during the afore-mentioned rain, and in the midst of full-power air conditioning to cool things down.

i muttered and fretted to diana and steve and to myself, trying hard to keep an upbeat attitude about things for ander's sake. i didn't want him to be disappointed. he dreams about his birthdays all year long and i want to ensure each one is special.

here's where his gift to me of appreciating what was actually happening outshone anything i was disappointed over.

i had to explain to ander that i had problems making his green lantern pinata but got him a replacement that was nothing like it. he took the unexpected change in stride and was clearly pleased to have something for him and his friends to whack. in the end, i had to help tear the thing open, but the kids scrambled all the same to get the silly putty, spinning tops and pencil-topper fidgets that ander likes so much.

i think his favorite part was directing who could hit next 
ander had requested a superhero/supervillain theme for his party where he stated his intentions for us: steve as bizarro, me as killer frost, diana as poison ivy. diana put a lot of effort into dressing like catwoman (after having gained ander's blessings to make the change). she also made just the things that steve and i needed to identify our costumes.  one mama wore a great cape and another made the best shirt ever, just to wear for my son. and ander, just as he planned, wore his superman pajamas and loved the reversible superman/batman cape i found for him.

this selfie was diana-approved for posting. don't you just love her new frames?

he was so very excited about who was able to come to celebrate. two of our very favorite families (in which the moms are loved just as much as the kids) comprised the central core of our group, which was then rounded out by a sweet classmate and her family, an ander-approved final-hour guest addition for diana, and our enthusiastic, locally-based grandparents. people talked easily with one another, regardless of age or gender or relationship. we were all there because of one loving little boy and found out we had even more in common. there were smiles and laughter and joy in abundance.

ander with grandma & grandpa, holding the beloved, much-desired, newly-constructed arctic helicrane
though daddy has been known to make some fairly epic cakes, ander asked for a simple chocolate cake (because chocolate) and specified red frosting to look like superman's cape. steve made it exactly to order and ander was vastly content with it. it looked and tasted just right. everyone gathered around and sang happy birthday and he blew out the eight candles in a row, just as he'd described in his plans.

i hadn't the chance to tidy and clean everywhere as i would have liked, but most open areas were cleared enough and ander felt comfortable having people in all of his spaces. the kids spent hours going up and down the stairs, checking on the bunny, running from one bedroom to another, building with LEGOs, playing with cars and race tracks and all manner of toys.

how could i be sure, though, really sure that his birthday events were enough for him? he made it clear the next morning. after confirming with me that he was, in fact, eight years old, he thanked me for all of the gifts and said, "it was the best eighth birthday i ever had."

that, my dear readers, is ander. joyful for what is. i love this boy so very, very much.

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