Yesterday my son turned two.
I spent the day battling an incredibly high fever, and so I could do little else but lay on the couch and watch him play with the beautiful gifts he received the day before. His birthday has been an epic affair for the last two years, because its fallen on Thanksgiving weekend, and so we’ve piggy-backed his party onto our gigantic family potluck celebration. I’m worried we’re setting unrealistically high expectations for him – most kids are happy with birthday pizza.
Fortunately the fever kicked in towards the end of the festivities on Sunday, I was able to be a marginally good hostess, and now I’ve taken to my bed. I haven’t had a sick day in ages, so I’m trying to really enjoy it – at least as much as one can enjoy being sick.
I am a churning sea of emotions right now, and I will blame the lingering effects of the fever, but the truth is that it hurts to realize how quickly it all flies by.
How can the passage of time be accelerated to such a huge extent? How can my baby be talking in sentences? How can he be big enough to hold our friends’ newborn daughter in his own lap?
He was so well-behaved all day at the party. He didn’t seem to mind sharing his toys, he was kind enough to take an extra long nap before the guests arrived. He made all sorts of adorable “oohs” and “ahhs” as he opened his presents. I wish you could have seen the look on his face, illuminated by the flickering candles, as 50 people sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to him. He seemed as though he was about to cry tears of joy. He was in awe, he was delighted, he was perfect.
Nothing in my life has taught me about gratitude the way my children have. Nothing has taught me about living in the moment like watching my son grow.
It’s such a bittersweet feeling knowing he will be my only bio baby. Part of me aches for those quiet moments, sleeping with him in my arms, so tiny and helpless. Part of me is so very glad to be able to give him my full attention and soak up each moment of his baby and toddler years.
Our weekend celebration was poignant. There were so many people who weren’t there, who I wish could have celebrated with us. I wish my aunt Carmen could have been these to see Noah gallop like a horse all around the house, wearing the beautiful shoes that she bought him. She was there only the year before, when those shoes were still too big. It was our last celebration all together as a family.
Those shoes remind me of how much can change in such a short amount of time. We all have such a small amount of time. Eat the cake, play, sing, dance, celebrate with family and friends anywhere and everywhere, luxuriate in a sick day, wear your pajamas to formal occasions (see photo), don’t ignore your birthday or the birthdays of your loved ones. These simple moments of living, these tiny passages are the most precious gifts we get.