Friday, December 6, 2013

Happy Birthday, Elder

It's his first birthday away from home. I can't but help feel a little out of sorts. Not so much sad, just somber.

As the days wear closer, his special day seems to scream from the calendar. Should we be making plans? Is it weird to celebrate without him? Or, should it just be business as usual around here?

There doesn't seem to be a correct answer.

We've sent cards. One from his siblings and another from us as parents. I know he's got a few others on the way too. We also scheduled a special grocery delivery for the morning of his birthday - all the makings for his favorite dinner. And a cheesecake, because that's his absolute favorite! (Hope its good. I ordered the NY Style, but half-way around the globe, NY cheesecake may not be the same as it is here in the US.) Also some extras, like chocolate milk, popcorn, chips and salsa, and, oh yah, candles!

He will not feel forgotten.

But, my heart is still heavy. I can't seem to reconcile the time that's past since I held that tiny 5lb 8oz baby boy in my arms. He was so tiny. So perfect. And, he needed me....

But not for long. Wow, my boy grew fast. By the time he was one he was a whopping 25 lbs. He was also walking and talking. Full sentences. I never thought we'd experience quiet again!

Then he went to preschool and for a few hours a couple times a week, I missed the sound of his sweet little voice.

I remember the day he got on the Kindergarten bus. We were both trying to be so brave. Only one of us cried (and only after the bus was out of my sight!) I was tempted to follow in my car. You know, just to make sure he got to the school okay.

Then, I blinked my eyes and he was in Middle School. And, before I knew it, he knew everything! He was dating, driving, and holding a job. I shook my head in amazement as I watched him grow. Each day was passing too quickly. That little boy who couldn't shut up turned into a teenage boy who didn't want to talk to me.

...Except when he needed me. Broken hearts, homework questions, and empty gas tanks held us together while he tiptoed through those years of self discovery. But, at the end of the day, he always needed me.

I suppose that's the hardest part about this birthday: knowing that he doesn't really need me anymore. Okay, I know children always need their moms, but its different now. He clearly doesn't need me like he use to. He is so independent. So mature. And so very far away.

Maybe I'll make a cheesecake in his honor. Maybe I can even talk my hubby into singing a little off-key rendition of Happy Birthday with me. Our off pitch serenade, I'm sure, will be something my son will not miss.

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