birthday magic

Twelve years ago, he was born on national bundt cake day. I remember because in the days after his birth, the two of us spent many hours on the living room couch watching Martha Stewart while he nursed and I drank endless cups of Ocean Spray cranberry juices, and Martha Stewart did a whole show on bundt cakes, and I caught the replay. It was fitting because at that time I mostly baked bundt cakes.

Twelve years of mothering. Specifically, twelve years of being his mother. I could say all the cliches, how he's been a gift and a blessing and how he's changed our life. They'd all be true. 

But mostly, I want to write about the way he sees the world, with gratitude and joy. About how on his birthday he carefully tore at wrapping paper, and examined each gift, his face open with thanks and awe. I want to tell you about the toy store we visited after filing for passports (and how gracious he was to share his birthday with the tedious work of getting passport photos taken and the paperwork that goes with it), and how the woman behind the counter told us the entire store was 20% off, and the only thing Fynn wanted in the whole store? A five dollar mood ring. 

On the evening of his birthday, we headed into Boston to see Potted Potter. We knew a storm was coming, but the reports of how much snow we were likely to get varied, and the timeline was even more questionable. We parked the car and walked through Chinatown and into the Theater District, bundled up in coats and hats and mittens, Fynn clutching his Harry Potter wand that was a gift a few years back. The skies were cloudy, but there was no precipitation. The show was less than two hours, full of hilarity and inside jokes and pop culture tidbits. The magic came when we stepped out of the theater and into a snow globe. Snowflakes were coming down rapidly, sideways, and there was at least an inch of snow on the ground and on top of cars. Both of the kids eyes were wide, taking in the first snow of the year, but Fynn's face held all the wonder of birthday magic. He loves snow. I can't tell you how much. It'd be like asking someone to describe how much they love a child or a parent or their favorite food. 

The drive home was long, slow, and tense. Lucas's knuckles were white as he gripped the steering wheel. I'm not even sure we turned the radio on. When our kids get nervous, one gets very chatty, and the other becomes quiet. Fynn was quiet the whole ride home, only laughing when we joked about how driving through the snow looks like going at warp speed in star wars. I reached my hand back and held Fynn's. His hands are nearly as big as mine these days.

At home we had to park the car at the end of the driveway so we could shovel off snow and make it to the top. I sent the kids inside, but told Fynn he could play outside in the snow for a while. "It's late, and I'm so tired," he told me. I nodded. But once Lucas and I had cleaned off the driveway, pulled the car into it's spot, and were walking back towards the house, we noticed Fynn on our little hill, building a snowman. 

Paige watched from inside the warm house, and Lucas joined her. But I stayed outside, helped finish up the snowman, and then Fynn and I made snow angels and had a snowball fight. Just him and me. His laughter mixed with wonder, and his eyes twinkled in the dark. It reminded me of when he was little, all the times it was just me and him and I bundled him up for winter walks, all of the first snow of the season we've marveled at together. The house in Ipswich where the storm window wasn't shut properly, and we had snow inside the living room, how he played in it with a shovel and a pail. The hours he spent in his huge snowsuit sitting in snow, taking handfuls of it and eating it no matter how much I protested. Boots caked in snow and mud and how tiny they were in comparison to the big clunky ones he wears now. The blue of his eyes against cloudy grey skies, and how they come alive at the very mention of snow.

Twelve years of being his mama. On his birthday mother nature celebrated him with a nor'easter, and we partied late into the night with snowballs and cake, and joy. There was so much joy. May he always know the joy of birthday magic, a snowstorm, and a family who loves him dearly. 

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