Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday Morning Haze: VBS/Birthday Edition

The sky really is hazy, and the air is hot and humid. I finally rifled through the vast array of pregnancy clothes (I have everything you could possibly want for every season) in my possession looking for cool summer things. I'm too big to stuff myself into anything else. So amazing to be this big at only 12 weeks. Speaking of which, I Really need to remember to call the doctor.

But not today, because VBS kicks off tonight!!!! and I need to be more helpful than I have been so far. It is a huge enormous wonderful fabulous blessing not to be organizing this event myself but instead to be relying on a detail oriented talented enthusiastic creative perfectionist who really loves Jesus and loves children (unlike me, just kidding). This wonderful person has invented a program that far and away surpasses anything I have ever seen for sale on the subject of VBS.

And, I think we've solved the Birthday Party Problem. Thank you so much for all the suggestions. We're entering new territory as we approach this eighth birthday. Heretofore, its been a matter of saying brightly and cheerfully what's going to happen and then carrying on. For example, "We're going to have a cake and a balloon, and T is going to come over and you may also have a potato chip!" And the child coos with delight. I adopted this strategy after clarifying in my own mind what I thought I could cope with.

"Elphine," I said brightly, "on Tuesday morning, your Birthday, I will get out of bed and make us all a lovely breakfast, and then Daddy will take you out to lunch, and then, in the afternoon, we will have tea and that gorgeous fat chocolate cake from Wegmans. And then, when Teacher Training is over in a couple of weeks, and I've had time to recover, I will make a real Holly Hobby cake for after church."

She smiled cheerfully but didn't run off to play. After a few minutes she said, "I've thought about it, and I think we should invited E, S, R, T, N, J, P, J, and T to tea on Tuesday." And so began two days worth of negotiations involving both me and her father with unhelpful suggestions from Alouicious.

Birthdays are complicated for me. I've always adopted a defensive strategy of disappointment on my birthday. In the days leading up I indulgently and mournfully relive my 11th birthday when we planned a party for some friends three towns over, waited All Day for them to come, and finally, in the evening, picked up the party and drove it to them because they had forgotten. Or the birthday on which I received a large poster of Annie with the curly red hair and enormous dog. This poster so offended me--that someone looked at me, and then saw that awful musical, and thought, she's just like that--it still makes me shudder quietly. Or the many many birthdays when I had to go back to boarding school, the two days always seeming to coincide. I bring all this sorrow to every birthday celebrated by every member of our small family (by small, I mean, everyone single one of us is very short).

Matt, on the other hand, sees birthdays like a beautiful uncomplicated dream of happiness and ice-cream. He has no disappointments in birthdays, excepting that since he's been married to me, I have disappointed him every birthday by not being cheerful enough about it.

Naturally, he has insisted that we celebrate Happy Birthdays his way instead of Disappointed Eeyore Birthdays my way. I'm not the best judge, but I think we are succeeding. The children seem so Happy on their Birthdays, eyes bright as they utter long sighs of satisfaction. I hover in the background, waiting for someone to burst into tears or cloud over. My time, however, may yet come. The expectant gleam in Elphine's clear brown eyes is bound some day to encounter disappointment. May God yet spare us from it being this year.

3 comments:

Kool Kat said...

I read to Andrea the majority of this post and we have concluded that her and Matt share the same birthday philosophy, and, unfortunately, you and I seem to share the same one as well. Thought you'd like to know.

Shawn (Mimi) said...

Please just tell me Emma's package from Mimi and Boppy has arrived or tell me as soon as it does. They promised last Friday or today. I could not handle a disappointed birthday girl...this coming from Matt's mom, the source of "beautiful, uncomplicated dreams of happiness and ice cream" birthdays!!
Love, Shawn

Joyce Carlson said...

Happy Birthday to EMMA Darling! We promise to make a pineapple upside down cake for dinner tonight and will put 8 candles on it and blow them out, in the company of two of Emma's great aunts (Dorie and Sharon), and two first cousins once removed (Laura and Heather). Missing you all and sending tons of love, ME