October is a festive month in our family: my father-in-law’s birthday is in the beginning of the month; my mother-in-law’s comes next towards the end, and my mom and my daughter share a birthday three days after my mother-in-law’s. Because we all live within two hours of each other, we’ve started celebrating all four of those birthdays on one day or weekend. This weekend, is that weekend.
My husband managed to find a pocket of time in which to purchase birthday presents for each of those family members. Guess which one is getting the Hello Kitty backpack? All I have to do is wrap the presents, buy some food to keep the tummies full on Saturday, and get the house nice and clean. Picking out gifts, and getting them to loved ones on time, is not one of my strong suits, so I am more than happy with this arrangement. I tend to over-think things to the point of tardiness, at which time I freeze in panic mode. (Note to self, start Christmas shopping now!)
Surprisingly, my little A. was incredibly eager to clean yesterday, so we got the loft, her room, and her brother’s room all picked up and vacuumed. No matter how many times I do those things, it is just so satisfying to see clean, freshly vacuumed floors. Ahhhhhhhhh. I was tempted to tell the kids not to take out any toys or books or games with tiny pieces until after the weekend, but decided that was just a little unrealistic, especially since L. has today and tomorrow off from school (teacher conferences).
Today, my mom spent the day with us, and I got to vacuum downstairs. Now, all that remains is clearing off the counters and tables and other horizontal surfaces of clutter. If you’ve read my older post, Panic Clean, you’ll know that I have kind of a problem with filling up spaces with piles. It’s a system that appears chaotic, but which I usually can manage and sort through pretty easily. Easy or not, the piles have to go so we can use our counters and tables for snacks and drinks and meals! As eager as little A. was to help me yesterday, her brother today was a different story. I’m hoping for cheerful hearts tomorrow!
As I’ve been preparing the house for our beloved family members and for this celebration, I realized I haven’t fully mentally prepared for the fact that my baby girl turns three next week. I feel like once she steps into three-dom, she is not only a non-baby, but she might also be a non-toddler. Little girl. Yes, she is a little girl. I marvel at what she loves to do, what she can do, what she refuses to do, what she dives fearlessly into, and from what she shies away. She is becoming her own little person!
I know it is trite to say how bittersweet it is, to watch one’s children grow, but birthdays bring up those feelings quite sharply. This is the first year that I think she actually understands that it is her birthday coming up and that she has clear opinions on what she’d like to do! For those wondering, she has requested vanilla Hello Kitty cupcakes, some time to play at a local indoor bouncy-house arena, and a trip to a local park that we all enjoy. Her daddy will be off from work for the week of her birthday, and she also has her gymnastics class on her birthday morning–it doesn’t get much better than that in her eyes! I’m glad that for now, she is more excited about things to do, rather than things to have. I know that won’t necessarily be the case forever, but I hope that it is. Seeing her glowing delight when we talk about all being together this weekend, or going to one of those favorite places, is such a beautiful sight. Her mouth opens into a big “O” and spreads out into this contagious, laughing, gorgeous smile.
Having A.’s birthday on one Grandma’s birthday and so close to another Grandma’s birthday, makes all of it even more special. Both grandmas were caring, generous, sacrificial women before becoming grandmothers, but seeing them with their grandchildren has brought out those qualities exponentially. I am reminded all over again what a blessing it has been to live so relatively close to both sets of parents as well as V.’s sister and her family. Crowning that blessing is the fact that all of us genuinely enjoy being together. I can’t think of better gifts than those. Thank you, God, for my family.