Whoever had the brilliant idea to plan a Sticky for the same week as C’s birthday… well it was me, and I clealy didn’t think it through. I think I can be forgiven, because all of C’s birthdays up to this point have been pretty low-key. Turning 1, that’s a big deal, but it’s a big deal mostly for the parents. I made a cake, we took photos of C covered in cake, we tried to get him to understand about how to open presents, and were way more excited than he was. That first year is a tough year. We congratulated ourselves on keeping the kid alive, and a modicum of sanity for ourselves, all the way to the end.
Year two was still pretty chill. Just family. Cake. And sitting here looking at my giant 4 year old baby, I don’t remember what we did for his second birthday. According to my Memoir app, two years ago is when I bought a mini cupcake pan. But that’s all I said about the year two celebration. I will have to investigate further.
Year three was the first rainbow birthday cake. We didn’t have a party for the birthday, because we were having a party for the baptism. Yes, we were three years late on that. Our excuse was that during year one there was enough fuss around C’s head, what with the craniosynostosis surgery. Plus we figured he’d already been introduced to God, and under the circumstances, we didn’t think he, or God, would mind if we postponed the formalities.
Back in January, when I coordinated to have Sticky on March 6th, C’s birthday wasn’t part of my thinking. Then we got into February, and C asked for a birthday party. “A birthday what?” I thought, but what I really said was “okay.” I said okay. I had to make it happen. As the prep for Sticky started to build, which if you’ve ever produced a play series you know what I’m talking about, I tried to push off thoughts of this birthday party. I thought maybe he’d forget about it, and as I started to look into it, venues, prices, invitations, I really hoped he would.
He didn’t, because he’s not a baby anymore, and he has his own wants and ideas. As the birthday drew nearer, and the time in which I had to make something happen shrunk down to impossible, I had to tell him. I couched it in other birthday-centric events, and instead of having one big blow out, planned alot of little, way easier to plan things. I took him to the circus, planned a small family party during a visit to my Gramma’s, made cupcakes for his class at school. But he kept asking about his party, and presents. I’d done what I could do. I also had to produce a show. I knew Dave was exhausted from working 9 of 10 days, but I was at the end of my ability. I texted him early in the week and said “you’re on deck for this birthday.”
As Sticky approached, and C’s birthday along with it, I braced for impact. Little did I know that Dave had it well in hand. By the time the birthday arrived, he’d stocked a closet full of presents. On Friday he took C to a matinee of the Lego Movie, leaving me with the apartment entirely to myself (it’s been at least a thousand years since I had two hours alone in our apartment). The boys came home with a pizza for lunch, meaning that I didn’t have to make lunch. Then Dave pulled an ice cream cake from the freezer, and revealed the pile of presents. He’d done everything. C told us that he loved his birthday party, and all his presents.
As I watched the day unfold, seeing all the wonderful things for C, each and every one of which had a super side effect of being a present for me, I wondered where this man had come from. It occured to me suddenly, and for the first time in a long time, that this is a special person, that he doesn’t need to be improved, that he is capable, and that if I fell off a cliff tomorrow, he could handle it, the whole thing, the child, the work, the birthday parties. It’s perhaps true that this been the case for a long time, and I’ve been too bllinded by my own failings to notice it, by my own anxieties, by my inability to trust anyone but myself. But I’m going to start assuming that my husband will come through, will get the thing done, will meet our needs, and will not fall short.
There’s a whole lesson in here about expectations, but I’m just going to relax, and let those expecations take care of themselves.