This weekend was a whirlwind.
I was happily anticipating attending Blog Podium in Toronto on Saturday, but was also a bit apprehensive to miss a sweet little boy, on what would be his eighth birthday.
Luckily, we are quite literal around here, so it made sense that since our son wasn’t technically born until 8pm, that I would actually be home in time to officially celebrate with him — for one entire day.
This little predicament, as it was, taught me so much about our oldest boy.
As I make sure to do with every birthday, I spent the night before his birthday, setting up a little birthday party on our kitchen island for the birthday boy and his siblings. There was balloons, a carefully wrapped gift, a birthday sign, little party plates, napkins, kinder eggs on three place settings, special touches of little blackboards saying “Eight and Great!” and a little card, hand written, for my first baby.
There was a cake too.
A surprise cake on a pretty little white cake stand. A cake that had been gawked at for weeks through the glass of a bakery. A cake that was talked about and wondered over and one that a growing eight year old boy once exclaimed that he “could eat in one minute, cause it looks soooo good!”
I knew when I tiptoed around the night before, that the cake would be, in fact, “the icing on the cake”.
I pictured him waking up, under his Grandpa’s lenient watch, and him immediately devouring the fluffy white layers in a single big bite. I could almost see the aftermath, as I pictured a messy, goofy, birthday boy grin, outlined in vanilla icing and a big ole happy beautiful mess for me to clean up when I came home later that day.
But that wasn’t what happened.
After being happily reunited (12 hours is a long time for children to be away from their mothers and an extra long time for mothers who have undeniable “Mamma-guilt”). We met with “I missed yous” while big hugs were given and received. I looked at his face a dozen times and exclaimed aloud at how old he looked now. Together, as a family crammed around a restaurant table, we counted down till it was 8:00pm and we all sung happy birthday together in the middle of a restaurant — not caring who was looking.
Much to my surprise, when we came home, into our still and darkened house, the light switched on revealing that a present had not been opened, a cake had not been pummeled and imagined sticky, icing, hand prints had not been left all over my house.
There was nothing that had changed about the little-kitchen-island-birthday-party, but a sweet, little, proud, patient boy with a clean smile and a heart full of selflessness standing in front of balloons and a bag full of stiff, untouched tissue paper.
He smiled big, with those over sized teeth filling out his mouth and making me see glimpses of the man he will become. He threw his arms around me in a big ole bear hug with his eyes full of love as he continued to explain that he wouldn’t want to celebrate with a long awaited cake without the whole family being there.
His undeniable selflessness dripped off every word his equally squeaky and husky voice uttered.
“I love you guys and want to make memories as a whole family.”
His big-toothed-gap-filled-smile grew.
At that moment, with him on one side, and that pretty little cake, untouched, on the other side, I knew we were right to think that our blessings increase with every year we get to live with this little boy.
He is selfless, loving, giving and caring, with a large dash of enthusiasm, creativity, and drive. He is the first to offer a hand, to help his sister, to carry his brother, to encourage, to help out and to show care.
I’m proud every day to have become a mother 8 years ago, but this weekend I have a new gratitude for the children I have been given. I didn’t know this love I have for them could grow and expand as often as it does, but this weekend I am reminded, once again, of how amazing motherhood is.
A mother is blessed enough to literally grow the friendships she will cherish and rely on for her entire life.
That, right there, is amazing to me.
Tonight I am thanking God for the gift of life that is my sweet, first baby, turned rough-and-tumble boy.
Tonight my heart is bursting with a kind of love I want to write down and remember always.