Traditions

mvc-011f-2He turned fifteen today.  Birthday traditions take high order in how we do things around here.  Traditionally Mom stays up late the night before wrapping every single little thing….even a package of gum.  Presents are balanced in a pile and topped with a bounty of balloons so there is a virtual shower of ballons when it comes to opening presents.  Mom has also stayed up to hang a curtain of crepe paper streamers on the birthday child’s bedroom door.  (Seriously I hate that curtain because there is no easy way to hang them. So thank you 15 for asking me NOT to do it this year.  I won’t be so lucky with your sister in August.) 

And birthday cakes have always been my ‘thing’.  Which usually means making the cake several days before and frosting it late into the night before or early in the morning the day of.  I am talking cakes like 3D teddy bears, a hockey/soccer player (with tin foil blades or chocolate chip cleats ), castles, sandy beaches with pretzel stick palm trees,  dragons (a bundt cake pan and Twinkies for the feet), space ships with aliens and even the Millineuim Falcon (when we were in our Star Wars phase).  Once I made a bed with four sleeping faces (cupcakes) decorated like the boys invited for a sleep over with two girl faces (cupcakes again) peeking over the foot and decorated to look like my daughter and her cousin who was also spending the night.  Had ‘Watch out Boys…’ lettered on the side of that one.  It was a hoot.  But, my favorite cake – ever – was the Frankenstein I made for 15’s ‘Mad Scientist’ party when he was eight.  Heh.  I baked that one in an empty 5 lb. coffee can.  This year he requested an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen….chocolate…..with a soccer ball.  Sigh.  End of ‘tradition’. 

Birthdays begin with phone calls from out of town relatives so they can sing ‘Happy Birthday.’   Non and Pop are usually the first from Florida and Aunt Darcy in South Carolina a close second.  Activity and dinner is generally whatever the birthday person requests.   Today they are at a bowling party for the newly four twin neices.  Tonight it’s crispy chicken and potatoes.  And baked beans.  And pickles.  And a birthday cake from Dairy Queen.  And red pop.  And a Red Wing hockey game on the big screen tv.  Perfect for 15.

But there are other traditions as well.  One that I really don’t share with anyone.

Every day on this day I think about a young woman on the other side of the world.  A twenty year old who gave birth to a baby, left behind some very basic and sketchy  information about herself and his absent father on a form and walked away.  Walked away leaving her slightly premature child in a nursery. 

I wonder if she thinks about him – or me – as often as I think about her on this day? 

I wonder if she wonders what he has turned out to be?  If she would be proud to know that he is kind, a good friend, a dedicated soccer player and motivated student.  I wonder if she would get a knowing gleam in her eye if  she learned that he was stubborn and tenacious and very, very shy at times.   I wonder if she would understand his quirky sense of humor.  I wonder if she thinks about what he might look like and be proud that he is – at 15 – gawky with his new height and very, very handsome. 

I hope she wonders…..and knows.  I hope she knows that her child – my son – is loved more than anything in the world.   I cannot imagine our lives without him.  He is a huge part of our family.  And I thank her.  For having the courage and faith to hand her newborn child to a stranger.   To be able to trust him to  the hands of the people who gave us the opportunity to raise him. 

Her child – my son – this angsty alien teenager being at the moment – is going to be a good, good man.  Someone we can both take pride in.  I wonder…and hope that she knows these things. 

And thinking about this is -on this day every year – is my very own birthday ‘tradition.’

Happy Birthday, Son.

I love you.

 The picture is from his 8th birthday because part of being this  angsty alien teenager being is that you fight tooth and nail about getting your picture taken…..sigh.

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2 Comments on “Traditions”

  1. Mary Says:

    Aw!! Happy Birthday!
    And I too hope she knows how cherished he is.

  2. Donna Says:

    You are such a dedicated parent you make some of us who took having babies for granted look poorly 😉

    I have a child. She is the bravest woman I know. She had a baby that she thought was better off with 2 parents. One day she finally met a man and fell in love. She became pregnant with twins. I believe God gave her a double blessing for being so selfless. I know she thinks about that baby often especially on his birthday and she is thankful for the parents who are raising him. So am I.


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