Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Let There be Cupcakes!

I reached for the cupcakes at Whole Foods this morning - vanilla, Lyle's favorite, with coconut sprinkled generously across the top - and paused, thinking to myself, It's his half-birthday, you dork. He doesn't need cupcakes! This is a fake occasion, right up there with celebrating the 100th day of school! Just tell him he's three and a half and move on!

And then I reached for the cupcakes and determinedly placed them in my shopping cart, sending a text message to the babysitter: "Tell Lyle it's his half birthday and we'll celebrate tonight!"

At the dinner table, he could barely contain himself. He stood on his chair because from that vantage point he was able to take in the glorious dinner I'd given him (Trader Joe's 3-cheese pizza, chopped pineapples, and veggie chips - his favorites!) and the cupcakes back on the kitchen counter. "This is gonna be quite a party!" he crowed.

On a whim I set the iPod to Lyle's 3rd Birthday Mix, a selection I put together for his birthday last August, and while we ate we jammed to some of his faves, such as a couple of hits from Mary Poppins, Justin Roberts, Dan Zanes, and the local Wiggleworms music class CD.

After our fantabulous dinner and cupcakes, I declared it Dance Party Time. The three of us were on fire, I tell you, on fire. Lyle danced in circles around us, yelling, "I'm having a great time with you guys!" over and over. (He later took me by the hand and declared solemnly, "You are my best friend.")

Suddenly, Dan Zanes' Wonderwheel came on and there I was, dancing with my little guys in my kitchen on Lyle's half birthday, thinking about how blessed I am to have this family and house and a husband on his way back from a business trip and this blog and all of you friends out there from all over the world to share the highs and lows of my life with, and I was just overcome with gratitude. Truth be told, today I am exhausted, sick, and in possession of a work to do list with 21 undone items remaining, but all of that vanished in one big happy moment and has left me glowing all evening.

Just like us, our children are facing lots of challenges and have hard times ahead of them. No matter who they are or how they came into this world, no matter how well cared for, fed, educated, and played with, nothing is guaranteed for any of us. Nothing.

So, by god, if we've got a chance to eat cupcakes and dance like crazy people and celebrate "fake" occasions together, let's do it. Because it is what will get them - and us - through the harder moments in life.


tulipmom said...

Well said, Jordan! I'm sure it was a night none of you ... least of all Lyle ... will soon forget.

We celebrated SB's half birthday for the first time last year (with half a birthday cake) and he's already asking if we're doing it again this coming June.

Feel better soon.

KAL said...

Hear, hear! You've given me a brilliant idea. Happy Half Birthday to Lyle.

Christopher said...

Happy Lyle's Half Birthday to all of you!

Cindy said...

Happy half to Lyle! What a lucky guy to have a mom like you. And what a good reminder that appreciating all the good we have is reason enough to celebrate!

Libby said...

For crying out loud, Jordan! Your post from yesterday got me feeling all maternal for kiddos I do not yet have, this post is just about going to do me in!! :)

kristenspina said...

You, my friend, are brilliant. And yes, this is absolutely what it's all about. Nothing is guaranteed for any of us, and I don't want to miss a single opportunity to eat cupcakes and dance around the kitchen.

Thank you!

And happy half to Lyle!!!

Lori at Spinning Yellow said...

You are so right! Take those opportunities when you can. Thank you for reminding me. This is what life is all about. Cupcakes and dancing!

Cara said...

Wow - I needed this reminder, too, and I work with people that have CANCER for god's sake. You would think I would would live each day as my last, but that does not happen. ANYWAY. Thank you, Friend! Let there be cupcakes, indeed. xo!

Niksmom said...

Yes! Yes! Yes! And HAPPY HALF-BIRTHDAY, LYLE! (yes, I am shouting...with glee)

Everyone else in the NICU thought I was the crazy lady because EVERY month I would make up a really cool sign for Nik's "Monthiversary" and bring in some little treat for the staff. We learned very, very early that you just can't take life for granted. As we get farther away from those days, we tend to forget a bit; thanks for the beautiful reminder.

Drama Mama said...

Look at that face! That perfect preschooler dinner!

You are teaching him how to be fabulous at a very, very young age.

Well done.

May I suggest trying the Barefoot Contessa's recipe for Coconut Cupcakes? Pure decadence.


Cindy Fey said...

Is this the sweetest birthday a boy ever had OR WHAT!?

Amanda said...

I gaurntee weather you celebrate it or not every child 7 and under know exactly when their half birthday is. I did small half birthday celebration for my siblings. Took them to walkable store they got to get 1 item $5 max. It was so cute cuase the younger two would always look for something they could share with other when got home she w
as birn jan 94 he December it was 95 or 96. You can do math but she turned 20 in January he turned 18 in December. So for about a month they apear to be about a yr
apart but closer to two yrs apart. I did half birthday as he waa December 14 my bday is nov 23 yeah more Christmas stuff forh im then birthday and don't ask how we stiffed my bday maternal grandmas bday and Turkey day into half arsed celebration. I at 9 got true bday but i didn't get it done way i wanted. My paternal grandparents cultures thought half birthdays where important. So they made sure i and full sis felt great she isyounger then me but ilolder then ither 2 and april 14 th bday. You can easily see whh grandparents decided to tame us out for half birthday and get special half birthday pressent. It stoped at age 12 1/2 cause to grandmama we wear adults in her eyes. Did you ever noticed how from age 3 if child is 3 in half child insist it's 3 1/2 usually around age 7 or 8 that falls by the way side. But every 3,4 and 5 and many 6 yr old children know. And it shouldn't be big deal to give child two extra special days a ur to feel super special. And it doesn't take much to make a child feel like their king or queen for a day. It's little things they remember and I gaurntee your little guy will look back fondly on hjs half birthday improtu half birthday cupcakes and dance party is enough. Ask your small children how old they are and just enjoy how clever they are cause in teenage yrs they will seem beyond stupid,