“Happy Birthday Bryan!” his mom happily yelled into the phone…it was 8 pm the night of July 6th, my husband’s 36th birthday.
“Thanks Mom,” he returned quickly, with a yawn, worn out from a full day’s work, helping with bedtime and baths for Hannah and Hazel, thinking about all the work ahead of him tomorrow.
“Gosh Bryan, I’ve been trying to get in touch with you all day…I kept getting voicemail,” she said.
“Sorry about that Mom, it was just so busy today, back to back meetings. I know you understand.”
And I’m certain she did…I mean, I did. I know how busy my day is with two little ones. How hectic the pace of those 24 hours is and how there always seems to be way more to be done than can ever be accomplished in that time. How just trying to be a good mom, feed my family and not forget to pick anyone up is sometimes all that I productively manage in a day.
And while Bryan’s mom…any of our moms really…is no longer in that day to day craziness of raising little ones, I knew she could relate and remember what it was like.
I knew she understood why it was almost NOT my husband’s birthday anymore when he finally got a chance to talk to the woman who actually gave him that day to begin with.
But did that make it any easier on her? I’m going to guess a big fat no here.
And as I could hear her voice muffled from my husband’s ear, it really made me think. It made me think about my own two little girls.
About how magical their actual birthday was…How I was so scared to deliver them yet too excited to meet them to care. How I nearly lost my first born at birth but by God’s grace, she was still with me. I thought about how that rush of all-consuming love smothered me the first time I held them, nearly taking my breath away. I thought about their sweet faces, their smell, the way their skin was the softest thing I had ever touched. I thought about how I vowed in that hospital room that my world would revolve around these sweet little people for as long as I lived.
And I thought about how, on each of their successive birthday celebrations, I have relived those first moments. I have let my mind wander back to that magical day and how true joy came into my life. I thought about how, their birthdays are in many ways, the most important holiday we celebrate in our house each year.
How much time and thought goes into their birthday…the party we plan, the friends we invite, the food I make, the gifts they get. Celebration, celebration, celebration…of all that these little girls are and of everything I know they will become.
And it hit me…those are the EXACT SAME THOUGHTS that run through every mom’s mind before her child’s birthday. Whether that child is 2, 22 or 42.
We are always their babies right? Isn’t that what we tell our 4′ 6 year old?
And it made me a little sad. Because I realized there will come a time when my girls’ birthdays won’t really be “mine” anymore to celebrate. They will grow up, get married and have their own little babies. Their lives will have changed but my love for them won’t have.
So how will I reconcile that come May 20th 15 years down the road, I will still be having the same thoughts and memories play out in my head but I won’t be planning a big birthday bash for my daughters and 15 of their BFFs? How will I resolve that it’s okay to maybe not even hear from them on their big day until 8pm that night?
I have to tell you my friend, I’m not really sure. I don’t know how I will accept this new future that lies ahead for me. I can tell you, from my own experience, that it’s not a reflection of poor parenting or of a child that does not love his mom.
It’s more a product of our place in life. We go from being carefree children to raising them. From being provided for to becoming a provider. Our priorities change. Our responsibilities grow. As does our To-Do list.
But the way we feel about our children, that love we have, doesn’t change.
So I will enjoy these moments. I will look forward to each of my girls’ birthdays that are still “mine.” When their to-do lists are comprised mainly of playing baby dolls and swinging on swings.
And I will treasure these days. Knowing they won’t always be this small…this innocent…this much “mine.”
But before I have to share them…with spouses, with work, with children… I will drink it in. And for now, in this moment,this drink is all mine.