Monday, January 19, 2009

What I've Been Meaning to Say

I've been feeling full of things to say these days. Not particularly wise or memorable things, but personal revelations of sorts nonetheless. However, I have found it difficult to blog.

I meant to blog last Thursday, but it evolved into a de facto date night. The boys were enjoying a night of life-size dinosaur bliss (thank you Stace and Stratt) so Matt and I were left with our littlest man to relish memories of a former life when we had just one child at home. It was nice--for about 30 minutes. Then it felt weird so we headed out to do some shopping. We wandered, we browsed, we completed our list and in an act of unrestrained impulse, we purchased a frozen yogurt to share on the ride home. Wild, I know. Say all you want about how life changes after kids or thirty or whatever your imaginary milestones happen to be, but that night was simple and relaxed and wonderful. So I did not blog that night.

The next day was my birthday. I woke up early to run. (A new self-prescribed ritual for personal sanity that has revolutionized the mood of our kingdom tremendously over the past few weeks--but that discussion is for another time.) It wasn't long before Ty bounded downstairs to wish a cheerful good morning and ask when I was going to make breakfast. My half hour of "me time" was clearly coming to a close.

Sweaty, I stepped off the treadmill and rubbed his bedhead. We headed upstairs where after he asked me what day it was, he eagerly presented me with a gift. I opened the package and pulled out a clearly homemade but impressively symmetric beaded necklace. "Do you like it mom, do you like it?" "I love it," I said as I slipped it over my head to complete my haphazard look. It was perfect.

I am finding as I journey farther and farther into my thirties, I have a tendency to want to forget celebrations like birthdays, to simply let occasions like this roll by. Sure we can go to dinner, have some cake. Whatever. Just nothing too fancy. But as the days leading up to and even for a few days after reminded me, celebrating others is a life skill most kids need to be taught.

For my boys the hustle, bustle, fun, and play of everyday revolves solidly around their needs. Their wants. Their happiness. And so it should. Every kid deserves to be the center of someone's universe. Mine are each superstars in their own galaxies and they know that. I would have it no other way.

But there are times when the spotlight must shift so they understand how to recognize others in the crowd. Unfortunately as I watched them watch me try to uncelebrate another year of life, I saw disappointment. As I thanked people for calling, but let them know it really wasn't necessary; confusion. When I received a gift and told the giver they really shouldn't have; shock. When I told Matt I didn't care if we did anything to mark the occasion; pleading. Finally I realized they had solidly and willingly shifted the spotlight and I was refusing to step into it. My actions were somehow telling them their birthdays didn't matter, and perhaps their milestone was somehow not worthy of a gift or outing. That, devastatingly, I just didn't find the occasion that important. And to three and five year olds everywhere that's akin to asking them to skip Christmas. Simply unacceptable.

So we celebrated. I undid the downplaying, and showed them I was happy to celebrate my birthday. They made (or unwrapped) a "cake" with the help of Grandma and all things Hostess they were only too proud to claim. We went to dinner. We sang. They helped me blow out candles and I counted all the reasons this birthday meant a fresh start of a new adventure. So I did not blog on that night.

Then it was the weekend. My head was swimming in things I wanted to work out in this space. You see that's the trouble with starting a blog or a journal or a napkin where you jot things down to work them out--once you start, you're hooked. It's cheap therapy and it's not half bad to go back and read about lessons you've already learned. It somehow keeps you from having to relearn them. And that's a good thing. But instead I watched CNN all weekend. The Obama Express, the pre-inauguration festivities, the speculation on our new president's first 100 days, the hope. Oh, the hope of people all over our nation. I watched and was inspired and overwhelmed. So I did not blog then either.

Today, though, I am blogging. As I end this exhaustingly long post (and if you're still with me please lean forward so I can place a gold star on your patient noggin for reading my rambling) I know that somewhere in the busy-ness we are learning. We are growing. Somewhere in this blog that was started primarily to chronicle McKay's incredible journey, we are experiencing something even more breathtaking--a place called normal--a place where there are days without tubes or surgeries or mystery illnesses. And while I will take my life lessons where I can get them, I prefer learning them from normal. It's nicer here.


Kristi said...

Oh Mindi, the truth is that you're taking all of your dedicated blog readers on a journey with you. You're such an inspiring person, and I love that I now have a way to get a daily/sometimes weekly Mindi fix. Love you!

jaci said...

Wow Mind! You really need to write a book! What a wonderful talent you have. I hope you did celebrate yourself because you are amazing. I do the same thing on my birthday, and you have opened my eyes to a new way of looking at it. I love you and can't wait to celebrate you the first weekend in Feb.(if that works for you guys). You pick Fri. or Sat.
Much love.

Jenny said...

Happy Birthday. You are one of my favorite people! I think your 3 boys are darling, what a great number. It's a happy place to be. You and Matt are party animals. That is what our dates feel like. We alternate between two restaurants. Every now and then we throw in something completely off the wall! I hope NORMAL stays for awhile:).

heidivee said...

You have got to be the most eloquent (is that spelled right?) writers ever. You really should write a know, in all your spare time!
Thank you for ALWAYS putting things into perspective for me.
And happy late birthday! hahaha...

brees said...

I can't believe I missed your birthday this year. I hope that you had a great day and that you truly celebrated what a great mom, wife and person you are!

Jana said...

Happy Birthday! I had to laugh about your date night... it sounds all too familiar. Cory said "Isn't it funny how after you have kids, that anything without the kids is fun."

Sarah said...

Believe me, I am always with you through the end of your posts. I'm always ready to read more. You have such a way of teaching me! No pressure, just blog when you can:) You'll notice mine hasn't been updated for a month!

Wendi Bench said...

I was always a little sad I never had the guts to try for Sterling Scholar in I remember why. Girl I wouldn't have had a chance next to you! You won it fair and square! Keep writing. It's the only way some of us get to be a part of your life! XOXO