My firstborn, A, has been praying since last summer like this:
“Dear Jesus thankyou for mama, pappa and my birthday coming to march with birthday hats, birthday cake, ‘fari Sams and balloons …”
at which point we often direct her prayer:
“Honey, say thankyou for the food,”
And that is at the dinner table. To say nothing of other prayers that she might say, which are the same as well. They focus around her singular obsession: her birthday party.
So finely tuned is her focus on her birthday, I was only able to teach her to wash her hands for the appropriate amount of time by singing the birthday song to her, making sure she lathers for the duration of the song. Afterward, she thanks me for singing her happy birthday. I thank her for washing her hands. We are so polite.
She is clearly obsessed, but I cannot understand where it came from. She only went to one birthday party, and it was long after her prayers began about birthday parties. I can only assume that she saw one once?
So the date is fast approaching. Saturday. Little does she know, but I scrounged 6 or so kids about her age that she will at least recognize and have familiarity with and all her birthday wishes will come to pass.
Remember the days when the biggest thing going was your birthday? For me, for some reason, 4 always seemed like a really magical one. No longer a baby, passing some threshold of being a real kid. FOUR.
For her, the best life gets is a play structure and a friend, a ice cream cone, or some new discovery like a tadpole, a bug, climbing a tree or a pair of “princess pants” and getting her nails painted. I wish I would stop to appreciate her more fully more often. Even today as she asked “Will we play together?” as I struggled to get over to her to play PlayDoh, I was scurrying trying to get calls made for promises I had made, get dinner on and get myself fed as well.
We eventually did play Play Doh together, but how many time I have not been able to play with her because I was, what doing taxes, making dinner, paying bills? yech. Playing with a 3 year old is better and more important than those any day of the week.
I just need to remember that every day.