With so much hype leading up to the big day (three weekend days packed with activities), we were all very excited once it finally arrived. And I must say, the day held up to everyone's expectations, thankfully.
A few years ago, I started taking the kids' birthdays off. When I say take them off, that does not mean cooking, decorating, wrapping gifts, or running birthday errands. It simply means taking off from my dreaded desk work, which is a huge deal for me, since that is where I (regrettably) spend much of my time. Just doing the above-mentioned tasks (cooking, decorating, etc.) is a veritable vacation for me.
In between preparing for Miles birthday, I took some quiet breaks to read the book I have been working on lately. Reading in the middle of the day? Have I died and gone to heaven? It's quite possible.
My reason for taking off the kids' birthdays started with the premise of wanting to be present on that day, really present. And not just for the family party in the evening, but for the entire day. I wanted to have the space to be able to celebrate on my own. After all, I did give birth to a living, breathing being that day, all those years ago. If a mother doesn't deserve the day off for that accomplishment, then I'm not sure what would warrant a reprieve?
I love being in my house when the kids are all at school and it is quiet. Even when I'm doing my dreaded work at my dreaded desk (can I find one more use for dreaded in this sentence), I sometimes just stop and relish in the quiet. On their birthday however, it is a particular treat. While I decorate the table or work on the celebratory meal, I reflect on the day that particular child was born. How was I feeling? What was the weather like (in the case of Miles, it was pouring rain and in the the case of the other three kids it was oppressively hot)? Who was with me in the operating room (I had three C-sections, so I know nothing of regular delivery rooms). Was I excited? Was I scared? Overjoyed, always. There are so many memories to take in. As a mother, It's a sacred day for me.
On Miles' birthday, in particular, I think a lot about my mother. This year, I lingered on the photograph which sits prominently in our foyer, of my mom holding Miles, just hours after he was born. Miles was the only one of my four children that was blessed with her presence on the actual day he was born. Despite the pouring rain that day, she made it to the hospital, brought by one of her caregivers at the time. Nothing was going to stop her from meeting her newest grandson. I remember how beautiful she looked. Her hair and makeup with done with care and she had on my favorite aqua sweater, as well as a scarf I had knit for her many years before, both of which brought out her stunning blue-green eyes. She was dressed to impress for the arrival of her last grandson. Like everyone, the first thing she noticed about him was his remarkable head of hair. We laughed a lot that day. Shortly after she arrived, Garin and the twins arrived as well. We were all together, everyone meeting Miles for the first time. It was a perfect day.
I also reflected on Miles' birthday, two years ago, when he turned five, in 2020. Unbeknownst to us, that would be the last time we would ever see my mother. Covid hit, just a few weeks later and we, as a country, went into lockdown, We weren't allowed to see my mother after that, for her safety and ours. She died unexpectedly, six months later.
There was a lot of remembering and reflecting on this momentous Tuesday, 2-22-22. It was a bittersweet day, for sure, but mostly sweet. I wished that I could call my mom and we could reminisce about that perfect, rainy, Oscar Awards, Sunday, seven years ago - the day that Miles came into the world and changed all of our lives. Even more so, I wished she could be here to see him grow up and turn seven. That is what she lamented the most, not being there to see her beloved grandchildren grow up. Especially Miles, I think, because they had the least time together.
During dinner, Let It Be (her song) came on. We all paused and were so grateful for her presence at our celebration. Miles cried. Tears of joy, he said. Some tears of sadness, I suspect. as well. He misses her a lot and always remembers that it was his birthday that we last saw his grandmother and my mother. What a special honor for a special boy.
Since Miles' birthday fell on a special day, there seemed to be celebrating going on everywhere, Even Champ, the school mascot, was out, about and dressed up in a blue tutu and tie (for 2-22-22).
I had fun setting Miles' outdoor adventure-themed table, perfect for our fearless outdoorsman.
Miles posing for his official birthday portrait.
Dinner was just as he requested: Corn and potato chowder; salad with feta cheese and beets; and warm, crusty La Brea Bakery bread with butter. Perfect for a chilly winter birthday night.
Miles was the first at the table, eagerly awaiting his dinner.
The cake, also a special request, was a cookies and cream cake from Viktor Benes bakery.
Cake, ice cream and singing for all. https://youtu.be/pRsy6Vbj2Ug
Mommy is always glad to be the recipient of appreciation kisses.
Present time! Miles made out like a bandit. He got two incredibly soft stuffed animals (a wild African dog and a red panda); a lego set; a special scooter and collector pokemon cards (both from his sister), a pogo stick; roller blades; and so much more. The gifts and cards are still arriving! Graham, our resident handyman, took care of the assembly of all the large toys.
The best part of the night was cuddling with the birthday boy as the evening wound down.
It seemed like it was just yesterday that Miles came into this world. I will always recall that day with incredible joy and the deepest gratitude.
(Thank you to Shlomit Levy Bard for these photos https://www.studioslbphoto.com)