You turned FOUR on Sunday.
I am still trying to wrap my mind around how you can already be four. Four years old. Every time I thought about it this weekend, my mind went racing back to the operating room where we first met. Me all splayed out on a table, strapped down as if in my exhaustion I cared enough to flail about, and you all chubby and slimy and mad and cold. Good times, Ed. Good times.
Your birthday this year has been especially exciting. It’s the first year you understand upcoming events and could count down and look forward to your big day. Ever since daddy had his birthday in December, you have been asking if you were next. You had to wait through Charlie’s party, my birthday, Kingston & Kyrie’s party, Joe’s party, Trisha’s day, Addie & Lexi’s party, Aunt Sarah’s day, and finally…FINALLY…you were next.
We talked a lot about what you wanted for your birthday: a new bike, superhero stuff, Legos, the baby doll at Target that actually drinks her bottle, that pancake making pan that you saw on an infomercial. Every time you saw something you loved you announced, “mom! put that on my birthday list!”f
We asked you what kind of party you wanted for your birthday and you said, “um, maybe a pool party with my little pool and my cousin Jack and my friends.” So we planned it. We sent out invitations. We bought a new inflatable pool that could accommodate more kids. We bought a slip n slide. We bought a “baby” pool. You wanted “hot dog on a bun” for the party, so we went to Gordon’s and bought a case of dogs and a ton of buns and fixin’s. You helped me pick two HUGE watermelons.
Your birthday party was on Saturday. The day before your birthday.
On Friday, we had some unexpected guest cancellations.
I often wonder what your first memory will be, Eddie. Most people have their first memories around your age. I really hope you don’t remember the Friday before your party. I was disappointed to the point of heaving tears. I spent almost 30 minutes on the phone with Grandma while you and Charlie played.
But I know you heard me. I saw you climb to the top of your clubhouse and stare at the field behind the house. You don’t miss much, Eddie. After I got off the phone, you came and sat next to me and said, “I don’t have any friends, Mom? Is that what you told Grandma?” The tears got hot in my eyes all over again.
“No, buddy. That is not it at all! You have SO many friends who love you LOTS! It’s just that some can’t come to your party anymore. Big stuff came up and they have to take care of their big stuff. But they are so sad they can’t come.”
“But Jack is coming?”
“No, buddy. Uncle Chris just let me know that they are going camping. No Jack.”
He looked down at the ground. ”It’s Ok, mom. We will have fun. It’s my party!”
The next day it was indeed your party. Our neighborhood friends, Kelsey, Bentley, and Harry came at the last minute and you and Bentley had an absolute ball splashing and chasing each other. Uncle Mike and Uncle Cody both brought their swimsuits in case you needed some fun…but they didn’t even have to bust them out. You have have an awesome family who loves you so much. Aunt Kenzie even showed up though she had originally thought she would miss it.
Unprompted you thanked everyone for coming to your party, and you thanked daddy and me about a hundred times for your party and for hot dogs. You made us so proud, Eddie. So proud.
On your birthday you woke daddy up with your new Batman Mask on. It was hilarious. Then we had cinnamon rolls followed by a treasure hunt to your gift from us.
When you saw it, instead of jumping on, you rushed over to me and threw your arms around my waist. “OH THANK YOU MOM AND DAD! FOR MY BIG BIKE!”
Then you did that excited little dance you do where your arms get flappy, and you jumped on in your jammies. Daddy took video, but since we are all in our jammies, we will keep that gem off the blog.
That afternoon, Daddy “swam” with you in the pool and showed you how to use the slip n slide. After your brother’s nap we went to Red Robin (yummmmm!) because that is your favorite and immediate choice when we ask where you want to go.
You got the corndog (because three hot dogs on a bun over the course of two days was not enough hot dog for you, I guess) and polished it off claiming LOTS of room for ice cream. Last year you shared your ice cream. Not this year.
When we got home, you announced you were STARVING for some birthday cake…and what do you know, I happened to make you the lemon cake you requested!
We lit the candles, sang happy birthday to our four-year old, and you blew them out.
Later that night, I put you to bed. It was my night, but if it hadn’t been, I would have asked daddy if I could do it. I need the snuggle and talk time with you.
We used daddy’s tablet to read Oh The Places You’ll Go and Happy Birthday To You both by Dr. Seuss. You were almost asleep by the end of the second book, so when we turned it off and you rolled over, I quietly whispered, “Happy Birthday, Eddie.”
Barely audible, you whispered back, “thanks, mommy.”
“I love you,” I added.
“I love you better than the wide world,” you managed.
“Oh. I love YOU better than the wide world too.”
And then you fell into the steady breathing of a boy who had loads of excitement and sugar. Of a little boy who just turned four and feels so big.
I lay there even though I knew I could get up. I replayed your birth day in my head. I let the tears wet the pillow under my face. I apologized to you again for being so sick your first year of life.
And I thanked you for being the little buddy I never knew I needed. For being so smart and funny and silly and witty. For being strong-willed and bossy and whiney and emotional. For being so much like me.
I don’t know if you will remember any of these events, but my heart will remember them always. And my prayer is that even though the actual events may fade from your mind, they feeling of being so loved by so many will always be there with you.
Because so many people love you, but I? I love you most of all.
More than the wide world.