“Wait,” Abe said to me the other day. “Dad’s going to be how old? 38? But . . . that makes you 37 . . .”
”Yah. I am 37.”
“That’s weird. I always think of you as an even number.”
I’ll take that as a compliment. Evens seem so dependable, solid and trustworthy. Odds? Volatile. Unpredictable.
Naturally Abe sees me as an even.
It was Mike’s upcoming birthday that spawned the above conversation. Mike is pretty good at birthdays . . . good at giving me good birthdays that is. Somehow . . . he seems to end up with . . . mediocre birthdays himself.
I worry I might be a big part of that “somehow”. (?!?)
The birthday was yesterday. Last night, after kids were finally all in bed, I was snuggling birthday Mike on the little red couch in our room. “Remember your one birthday?” I said. “The one when we were driving home from Bear Lake and just had time to pick up some Ho-Hos for your ‘birthday cake’?” And then, “Remember your birthday when we went camping and you just got . . . a pair of jeans for your present? Oh, and remember your birthday after Goldie was born when you took me shopping for new clothes?”
Next year . . . Mike’s birthday is going to be AWESOME.
In the meantime, he did wake up to some pretty great birthday signs from the kids. This one from Abe was a favorite of mine. I sometimes joke that my dad’s main pieces of advice to me growing up were to “look for rocks before diving” (an apt warning – as he nearly killed himself at Yellowstone when I was eight by not doing that very thing), and not to giggle so much while driving with my friends that I didn’t watch the road (again . . . kind of necessary; my friends and I really liked to laugh). I love that Abe so perfectly identified the main things Mike encourages him to do (well . . . to not do). If Abe masters these, he’ll grow up to be a fine man.
Also, I didn’t realize (until looking through my cell phone after) that I had so perfectly caught this small sequence of birthday shots. Poor Mike. We seem to be ever breaking and destroying everything we own (by “we” I mean the kids and . . . me).
-- I’m holding Summer and taking a few pictures. “How sad,” I say. “Dad shouldn’t have to light his own birthday candles. Abe, how about you light the candles.”
-- Abe lights a few . . . and then, inexplicably, drops the match on the table.
-- He and Mike sadly examine the burnt spot on our tablecloth.
-- Abe hands the matches over to Mike . . . who . . . lights his own candles.
-- We all sing “Happy Birthday” to Mike.
-- Abe creates a paper-bag “mask of shame” to wear. (We all agreed he deserved it. Though . . . the laughter it caused probably undid any proper penance on Abe’s part.)
Then Mike said how his birthday would be perfect if the rat he has been trying to defeat would “crawl out of its little hole and . . .”
Here Abe broke in with a questioning, “die?”
And everybody laughed and laughed (except Goldie who likely cried because she won’t even let us kill mosquitos), and Mike said that would be a bit unsporting or lacking in challenge or some such. Then Abe asked if he would prefer the rat climb to our rooftop and plummet himself off for a bit more of a dramatic flare. And then we all agreed the rat would likely survive the leap and scamper back to his hole – leaving Mike still right where he is with his ratty little nemesis. And then we ate our cake and “Brownies on the Moon” ice cream (which was totally missing the “brownie” component). And that was that.
BUT, I love my 38-year-old! I’m so happy he was born and that I found him (he found me? we found each other?) some 22 years later!
The end. Except for these few pictures. I don’t know what it is exactly about this first one of Penny and Summer, but I love it. I’m sad I haven’t been getting out my fancy-pants camera. Somehow it always seems a bit too much when life is extra wild (and my arms extra full). That is a shame as I need to be getting more high quality pictures of Summer, BUT, I love Mike for getting me a new phone before she was born. It’s awfully nice to have something so handy, small, and close-by to keep me capturing her wee little beginnings here!