You turned five a few weeks ago. Five! Such a grown up boy! This was the first birthday that you looked forward to with great anticipation; the first birthday where we counted down the days and oh, the wait felt agonizing to you. You helped plan your party for the first time and you had very specific opinions about it. It felt different this year, having you be part of all the planning and preparations.
In the evening, after your party, we watched your birth video like we do every year. And that felt different this year, too. The night of your birth didn’t feel quite so close, so palpable. Like the edges are getting a little fuzzy with time. Your birth has always been so stark and clear in my mind – like it just happened. I still remember it well but the memory of it seems to be getting a little softer as the distance between that September night and the present stretches further and further apart.
I thought this realization would make me feel sad, as I often feel on your birthday And it did. A little bit. But it also felt good somehow. In a “look how far we’ve come! look how much you’ve grown!” kind of way. When I think back on that day I remember being nervous about pushing. I was afraid to push you out of my body; for all of the obvious reasons (like, ouch) but also for a few not so obvious. I felt like pushing you out of me was sort of sad. I felt so deeply connected to you when you were inside of me, inextricably entwined as we were. It was my first great act of separation from you and it pained me. But it also ended up being the most exhilarating, joyful, thrilling moment of my entire life – matched only by the birth of your brother. I will never forget Papa shouting and crying in his excitement and the way it felt to hold you for the first time on the outside of my body.
To my joy and sadness alike, I’ve realized that that great push 5 years ago was only the beginning; only the first time I would guide you out and away from my body. You are still deeply rooted in me and Papa and I hope you always will be, but it’s been a steady outward and onward and upward since that September night. And it’s been an abiding joy to bear witness as you stretch and unfold and branch out. It’s sad, yes, to leave your babyhood behind for all that lies beyond, but I guess I’m noticing that sadness a little less as we lean toward the capacious pleasure of cheering you on toward boyhood. Keep growing, sweet Snacks, keep growing.
Here’s how we spent the big day. You wanted to have a “garbage truck breakfast time party.” And you wanted chocolate croissants from the neighborhood bakery. How sophisticated of you! Since you enjoy art projects so much, we printed out some garbage truck coloring sheets for your guests. I also bought white t-shirts and some fabric pens. I outlined a garbage truck onto the front of each one for coloring in and we put everyone’s names on the backs.
You recently read The Berenstain Bears & Too Much Birthday so you were quite sure that you didn’t want too many people at your party. It was our first time letting you be in charge of the guest list and you invited 4 friends and 2 babies. Although it felt strange and unprecedented to us not to invite all of our friends, Papa and I thought you made a good choice since you find large groups overwhelming at times. There were a few times during the party when we noticed you off by yourself, coloring away, while all of your friends were busy elsewhere, which is just like you, Snacks!
All of the guests had gone home by 11:30am so you and brother had a grand time during “naps” playing with your new coloring books and stickers. In the evening we went out for your birthday dinner with Muti and Dopaw to Marination on the waterfront in West Seattle. We had an incredible view of downtown and you got to have fish for dinner, which was your one request. We came home for cupcakes and the aforementioned viewing of your birth video before bedtime.
Many happy returns of the day, wonderful wonderful Gryffin.
We love you so much,