A Child's birthday xo
In memory of Ben 10.08.95 - 12.12.98
You sometimes have to wonder who is more excited on a child's birthday, the parents, the siblings or the child. Sometimes you are in bed with your eyes closed & your brain engaged waiting for the early start & on the one day you prepare yourself to donate every part of yourself, they sleep in! Everyone wants them awake, the whole house is up, we all want to enjoy in their excitement, we want it to start now. Whose day is it?
As parents it is always their day; in our house like Santa stealing the night, we wait until a noise is coming from their open mouths, the eyelids are shut & all lights are out & we hang streamers, balloons & an obstacle course from their bed to the pressies; it's anything you like to eat, cereal for dinner, pods on cheesecake, whatever you like for at least one day of the year, everyone, particularly children need that! It's the one day we take of all days, of many, yet this one is magical & the one you give up to show your child how grateful you are their soul chose you.
What they don't know in the tearing of gorgeous paper (the one you spent pacing the isle trying to find the perfect one or last minute creativity burst as a result of a small panic attack...."we forgot the paper") carefully hiding gifts to build the anticipation, ringing around stores to find the last of something only your child would want & even on the years when budgets are tight, it's creating a special moment only they could enjoy & yet it is so much more.
For me a birthday, their birthday, a child's birthday is the day we gave birth. We brought wonder, humour, laughter & love into our lives, into the lives of all around us, shared their presence with the world, our gift to ourselves, to our family & the planet. It's the one day we let go of the memories of tantrums, trials of toileting, interruptions (phone calls, sleep, the toilet & not to mention heaven forbid attempts to provide siblings!). We put all that aside & we tip toe in & watch them grow another year older, the world unfolding as they sleep & we embrace everything amazing in that day, their day, their gift to us.
Like planting a seed we tenderly nurture & pray for in storms, hoping it stands the test of time, willing it to survive all odds, watching it grow inch by inch & blossom into no longer a seed, spreading its branches, staking it's roots into soil, making it's presence known to all. There are days the leaves shed all over the yard, it looks pale & worn & we carefully bring it back to health with every attention. When it's tall & strong, we sit benneath it & bask in its amazing wonder & all the efforts of caring for it day in & day out slip from our mind as we take in all its amazing beauty.
This day in our quiet moments, is our day too.
Holding my morning tea on the verandah over looking the valley, watching the sun come up on the day I gave birth to my 2nd child Ben. The warmth of the tea cup reminds me of the warmth of his hands, the sun in all its amazing wonder, never ceases to stop me in my thoughts at this hour to watch it creep into the day. The day takes it from us bit by bit, until the night falls & we are given the chance to either grieve for it's loss, or lay in wonder of the stars & take the time to enjoy the thoughts of our day.
I can hear people chatting as they walk, birds are awake & wonder how many babies, gorgeous new gifts arrived while I sit here with my hands warm & my heart remembering. How time goes fast whilst your children grow, how we grow.
We could have stopped celebrating Ben's birthday when he died at 3 years and 4 months of age, we could have taken this day to quietly let his memory fade as so many times advised by well meaning persons.
Yet, since when have I ever done what other's wanted me to do!
A birthday, a child's birthday, whether they live a day, a week, a year, a lifetime, it brings us gifts we can never replace, buy or give away. Our very purpose on life is to discover our own gifts & when the time comes to give it away. How could I possibly give back this gift?
A child's birthday is day of celebration. A birthday, all birthdays, are a gift to each of us, the gift of love, a gift of life.
This is not a day to show weakness or self indulge. It's not answering the phone, no being interrupted, wearing their favourite colour, eating their favourite food, it's taking risks, hugging more, sharing more love, playing. It's reminding ourselves of the child in all of us; growing old is inevitable, growing up is optional.
So on this day, for you Ben, for all the children & from all the parents, thank
you & HAPPY BIRTHDAY.
For being you.
For sharing your gifts.
For making the world a better place from your first breathe.
For reminding us life really is about more cuddles.
For teaching us to stop & capture the moment.
For keeping us grounded, reminding us we too have branches to spread.
For your gift xo