Our oldest child turned six yesterday. It was a brilliantly, sometimes cryingly, tiredly, and joyfully achieved milestone in not only his young life, but also in our lives, his father’s and mine, to note that we have indeed survived another year.
Congratulations to ALL of you mom-and-dad readers to have celebrated a birthday of a young one this year, boy, girl, dog, cat, or fish.
You are Brave. Beautiful. Committed.
Whether you know it or not.
In bringing together a number of old, new and in-between friends for a gathering in the park to celebrate another turn around the sun, I found myself pleased and relaxed. Though I was a bit frazzled earlier in the day, the sun came out in all its sublime northwest beauty to make the evening sparkle.
Grey clouds parted for the blue to mark the day.
At approximately 5:00 pm, we ducktaped pretend tablecloths onto picnic tables marked with old bubble gum and unidentified bird droppings. This year I was smarter and downplayed balloons (remember last year, readers?). We put out trays of veggies and chips and stocked coolers with water and beer. The wind scattered napkins and plates across the park, but we were ready.
A total of 23 bright-eyed boys between the ages of three and seven plus three courageous and adorable girls attended the party. Bowing to the saint of the uncreative, we had cake (not homemade) and a piñata. I will rethink the piñata next time (next time?!). Watching the flurry of children who had just beaten to death a paper mache star on a stick and then dive mob-style for treats was kind of uncomfortable.
My thoughts at the close of the evening were as sweet and mixed as the rough-and-tumble, gentle-and-mindful, happy-and-tearful, hopeful-and-kind, feisty-and-witty group of children at the party. I wish I had thought to take an [impossible] group photo to include in our son’s scrapbook.
Next year I envision gathering two or three of our son’s closest friends and taking them hiking, swimming, rock climbing for a day. Less hoopla and more hoop. But tonight was, in its own way, a special and perfect evening.
When we come together in the spirit of gathering for the purpose of our children, it’s so not about us. At one point, my husband whispered, who are these people? I don’t know anybody!
Thank goodness we had a few dear friends among us, but he had a point. There were a few less known friends with their beautiful boys and girls who’d shown up to help us celebrate Miles. I was a little nervous, actually, about that, and so relieved and delighted to see old friends in the mix.
I guess I just hold old friends so dear that I cannot imagine new friends ever taking a place as special in my life. I’m incredibly lucky that some close friends live in my town, but most do not — they live in the region where I grew up which is located three thousand miles away or they live a three to four hour drive to the North or they live across the whole darn world in a country that I point out to my children on the globe.
Friendship. Is. So. Important.
It is what holds me together, sometimes – no, all the time.
It doesn’t matter if you’re my neighbor, my coworker, my friend from kindergarten, or the mom of my kid’s friend. If you’re my friend, we’re in this together. Thank you so much, my new friends, my old and magical friends, and my not-yet-met friends. Each of you is such a gift to me.