David’s birthday was on Friday. Rich is usually firm about fulfilling commitments, and always makes the children attend school unless very sick, so I was somewhat surprised that he allowed David to stay home on his special day. Perhaps he knew instinctively that Dave would benefit from a day of loving, here at home.
One of the first things I remember of Dave that morning was noticing him observing his arms, just looking at them and saying, “I cannot believe I am eleven.”
David grows older proudly, yet reluctantly. He loves each age and doesn’t care to move on.
We had a quiet morning, and before lunch I asked him to put on some clean clothes so I could take his official picture on his 11th birthday. He chose his “creepers gonna creep” shirt, (I almost objected but then realized “this is who he is!”) a pair of jeans, and of course, bare feet.
The other day Caleb was thinking and thinking……”David is very much like a monkey,” he offered, “He’s the best tree climber of the entire family. And, he likes bananas…….”
Thankfully, there are other things about him, too. He loves to fold origami, he formed and leads a club at school, his best friend is a boy named Ryan, he reads Percy Jackson books, Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, and loves to be comfortable and cozy. He likes Star Wars and notices deep things, coming up with such precious observations that I find myself learning from him and marveling. He is especially close to Ethan and Grace and can spend hours with these two siblings. He is a good listener for Grace, and a mischievous adventurer for Ethan. They were punching each other in church today.
He likes Minecraft, fishing, marbles, stacking cups, comics, and magic tricks.
Our neighbor the vegetable gardener thinks David will be a mayor. He’ll never forget the time that Dave (a few years ago) marched right to their front door demanding cucumbers. They weren’t on the vegetable stand as they typically would be.
When I told David that it was the last day of the vegetable stand, EVER (the gardener, his old friend, was moving away), he went down with his handful of pocket change one last time. I found him later and asked if he was able to see Mr. G. “Yes. I gave him a speech, thanking him for the many years of selling vegetables.” A mayor!
He’s such a special boy and because he has three older siblings and three younger ones, he holds the distinction of being in the MIDDLE, able to be an “older one” or a “younger one” depending upon the mood or the moment.
For lunch on his birthday, I left Grace home on the couch (she was home sick) and Seth and Sarah napping, and the two of us went out to the “Elvis Diner” down the road. His face lit up when I asked him if he wanted to go (alone!) with me. On our way to the car he sighed and said one of his thoughtful thoughts, “It’s a long time in the double digits. You only have 9 years in the single digits but a long, long, time in the double digits.” (“Yes, and you’ll probably never get out of them alive,” I wanted to remark, but held back). Dave is also somewhat of a pessimist, bless his heart. With a tender soul.
“I love these times when it’s just you and me.” ~Dave, over lunch
He showed me magic tricks with the salt and a napkin.
He ordered specifically, six mozzarella sticks and grape soda. He wanted to save room for ice cream.
“I would never have known who Elvis was if it wasn’t for this place.”
He got to play the pinball machine.
He got to try for a black gumball (if you get one, your ice cream is free). But alas, he gave up 2 quarters, and out came…..an orange and then a green. He is convinced the machine is rigged! No one ever gets a black!
It was a good thing I was there to buy his ice cream for him.
After lunch we had to go to the store to get a cart full of groceries, including stuff to decorate his cake, which I had already baked that morning.
I bought him a balloon and the gallon of milk fell out of the trunk when we got back home. I screamed and grabbed it before it all dumped out.
He played minecraft for quite a while as I slaved away over his cake of choice from the book we have. Playing minecraft in leisure was probably one of the best parts of his day.
Once brother Caleb got home he was able to open the rest of his gifts and a card from Grandma and Grandpa, which came right on the day.
He was thrilled with the card because Grandma wrote a nice long letter inside it, especially for him. I think this was the first year he read it without struggling over the cursive writing.
He had told me a week before his birthday that he “always wanted one of those soft pillows for the bed, you know, the ones shaped like a chair.” He said it as part of a conversation and not necessarily as a hint for a birthday gift, so he was very pleased and surprised to get one from us. We also gave him two origami books, and a gift bag full of little things that make boys happy (like candy).
Jacob and Ethan had sports after school so Rich took Caleb and Seth to Jacob’s home game so I could rest (I was also sick with a cold) and we didn’t have cake until 9:30 that night, probably the latest party hour for us, ever!
As a mother, I think birthdays are a wonderful time to shower the children with love and attention. They need to know they are loved and valued, and that we are thankful for each one of them and what they add to the family and the world. God made them each so unique and they are to be celebrated.
One of my favorite parts of a birthday is lighting the candles and seeing the look on my child’s face as they are being sung to. It is their special moment. And they soak it right in. The love and the song.
“The home life should be made bright and full of sunshine. The courtesy of the true home is not stiff and formal, but sincere, simple, and natural. Children need an atmosphere of gladness…..no child can ever grow up into its richest and best development in a home which is gloomy and unhappy. No more do plants need sunshine and air than children need joy and gladness. Whatever parents may do for their children, they should at least make their childhood sunny and tender.” JR Miller