Growing up I loved my birthday. It was My Special Day and I knew that because my Mom served a my dinner on a plate that said “You Are Special!” My Dad took me out to lunch, and I got a few presents and a cake. I could finally put away the age 5 or 9 or 15 and be that next magical age when everything exciting in life would finally happen.
Last Friday John turned four and I finally realized the other side to birthdays. Now it’s not about looking forward, but backward. To the very beginning when I first saw that little face and finally understood how that mother penguin from March of the Penguins could pick out her chick’s voice from that mass of other squawking penguins. The process of his birth is somehow important too to the memory; when labor started, what the sunrise looked like on the way to the hospital, when I started pushing, when he was born. My Mom used to make these comments on my birthday, “This time X years ago we were _______” and I was far more interested in if she could give me a ride down to the court house to take my written test for my driving permit.
I look at him now and wonder how he ever could have been a baby. I look at his pictures and he just seems like a smaller version of himself. I know I’m supposed to say that I can’t believe he’s 4, but really I’m just surprised he’s not 5 already like he thinks he is. He’s such a sturdy little boy with a happy spirit and a love of learning. And with his brother I’m doubly lucky.
Happy birthday, little man.