Thursday, August 8, 2013

Thursday's Anticipation

At long last, today was Joe's birthday. He had been waiting for weeks, and counting down for days.

There is so little in life with unalloyed joy. But for Joe, today, I think he experienced it.
I woke to Isaiah gently leaning over Joe and saying, "Happy Birthday, Joe."

"Isaiah! Let him sleep! He'll be happier if you don't wake him too early." So Isaiah got Joe's favorite stuffed animal and set it up so the first thing he would see was Sam's face, saying happy birthday.

I dozed off and woke to Jadon gently leaning over Joe and saying, "Happy Birthday, Joe."

"Jadon! Let him sleep!"

"No, no, Mom, I think he's awake. See, his eyelids fluttered!"


No, Joe wasn't awake quite yet. So the older three went to play in the other room, and I dozed off again. But when Joe and I both woke up, and he realized it was his birthday, he had an ear-splitting smile. And then the three brothers chorused from the other room, "Happy Birthday, Joe!"
And so it went all day. Mid-morning, we opened his presents. It took about an hour, I think, to just open the four or five gifts. I kept the pile out of sight, so he didn't know how many he had. He would open one and be so enraptured that he practically levitated. Some time later, I would ask if he thought that was all. I'm not sure he always even heard me, his excitement in the moment was so great.

His Sam has been his favorite companion for weeks now. His main gifts: a stuffed polar bear, a cat beanie baby, and a stuffed tiger (all the Calvin and Hobbes made the attraction of a stuffed tiger irresistible, but though he named it Tigger, he keeps forgetting the name Tigger, and just calls it "Tiger—what was it's name again?"). He and Abraham played with the new and the old animals all day.
Joe is not a chocolate kind of person, so a chocolate or brownie cake was out. He wasn't a fan of the poppyseed cake with pudding frosting I made for Joe. So I experimented with a lemon cake from scratch. I've never made anything by Martha Stewart, other than the three ingredient hot cocoa mix, but this was quite a production. Candied lemons on the top and everything. It wasn't really a hit. Maybe next year I'll try fruit pizza.
But what made me so happy was that the lack of appealing cake (to his taste) didn't diminish his satisfaction of the day one whit. He was thrilled that we sang to him, thrilled to blow out the candles. And when it was time for bed, he let his brothers share his new animals.

And then it took him 45 minutes to settle down enough to fall asleep.

I think when you've thrown your head back for sheer joy about a dozen times, it's hard to let the day go.

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