It started with little packs of my favorite Trident (Cinnamon) gum wrapped up in birthday notes a week early. Then a box of my favorite cereal in my car with another “Happy Birthday Week” note. He showered me with little gifts, which grew in value each day.
We were college students when he started Birthday Week, with the gum and cereal and handmade notes. My husband looked for any reason to prolong a celebration.
This tradition stuck. It was easy when it was just the two of us. Everything was easy then.
Except the part where you keep the gifts a secret.
I don’t do so well at that. But only because I do dumb things like leave items in shopping bags on the front seat of my car. My husband, will see something out of place and just happen to find his birthday presents. Year after year. I’ve never been the world’s best secret-keeper. I blame this completely on my Dad, by the way. Who’d be so excited to give gifts, he’d leave trails of hints and wouldn’t stop talking about them. 🙂
Birthday week became a little harder but infinitely more exciting when babies came. One by one, until there were four of them, and here we are celebrating Birthday Week with our kids again, Year 11.
My big kid turns 11 today, with his ever-expanding brain in his head and bigger-than-Mom’s feet in his shoes. Most of his 11-year-old friends haven’t hit the same manly stride yet, which is just how he came, a little ahead of the size curve.
There are things about this age I really do not enjoy, not one bit, and I feel the need to be honest about that lest anyone thinks we have anything extra figured out about parenting boys. For the one person left who hasn’t witnessed our family in meltdown-mode, well–now you know this is a thing for us. 🙂
But there’s more about this kid, at this exact age, I love. So here’s a little birthday shout-out to end another birthday week, to my big kid.
The one who’s daily telling me a handful of jokes from the mouths of friends or pages of books, even if too often I’m saying, Let’s not repeat that one. The one with a bunch of 2, 3, and 4-year-old fans, because he loves to take good care of the tinies (unless his friends are around). The one who plays hard, works hard, reads hard, runs hard. Who performs top of the class, no matter which achievement test he takes. The one who’s read so many books of the Bible, all on his own and in addition to a hundred other books consumed this year. The one who puts my childhood summer reading contest victories to shame. The one who loves his friends and family deeply, and who loves a good party or team sport at least as much as a Barnes & Noble date with Mom. Or a project (including drills and hammers) with Dad. The one with all the issues we nitpick, and the ones that seriously have to go. (You know the ones.) But the one made up of so much more we love and like and beg for more of, because at the end of the day, it’s his hearty laugh, his sweet smile, his hugs, and (most of) the words that come out of his mouth, that we treasure.
Happy Birthday to our first big life-changer!