Yesterday, was Bean's 7th birthday. Where the time went, I am not sure. I definitely agree with the many people who say that having kids makes you aware of how quickly time goes by; another birthday sneaks up on you and you feel like you just celebrated the last one. Then you see a photo from the year prior and realize just how much your child has grown.
This year, his birthday was very low key for us. Usually we have a party, go on a trip, and celebrate his birthday several times depending on where we are and who we are with. However, with the year we have had, we are keeping it simple this holiday season and I am very happy about it. I am just so thankful we are all here and healthy enough to celebrate as a family.
I can't say, that I don't get a little teary-eyed as I feel the bittersweetness sweep over me, as my son matures and grows, just like he is supposed to. I just can't help but hold on a little to my baby. Last year, was the most difficult birthdays to celebrate, and probably one of the birthdays I will never forget.
I went to his school and helped pass out cupcakes to his kindergarten class at lunch time. I am thankful I had not known about the Sandy Hook tragedy then, because I would not have gotten through that. When I started getting news updates about what had occurred, I was devastated and crying and all I wanted was my kindergartener in my arms.
On the drive back to school for end of the day pick up, I made a very quick decision: not to let him know about this tragedy on his birthday. I was so upset by what had occurred and as I walked up to the parent pick up area, there were parents talking loudly and candidly. Some were even telling their children all about it in great detail. I saw my sweet and innocent 6 year old's face smiling at me as he sat in line-up, excited as could be on his birthday. As he walked up to me, I hugged him like you wouldn't believe, and then without stopping to chat with anyone, got him in the car and took him home. We had a lovely evening with him. We took him to the movies with two of his friends to see Wreck It Ralph and the next morning, he had a pajama pancake party with more of his friends. He had a great birthday!
I didn't make this decision to be self-centered, but instead, I decided I wasn't going to let my child's innocence be taken away on that day either. His birthday was still going to be a day to celebrate in our home. We caught the flu last year, and so we spent the whole next week home, which for once I was grateful we were all sick. He didn't end up going back to school until after winter break, so when I did explain to him a few days later that something very sad had occurred and that children were hurt badly, by a person who did very bad things, and now those children are in heaven, that is really all he knows about that day. Having to explain that to a 6 yr old bothers me enough and takes away enough of his innocence. Or why I won't let him wear light up shoes to school.
"Bean you know when you practice code red at school and you have to be quiet and in the dark in case someone bad comes into the school? Yes. well that is why I won't let you wear light up shoes, so that you can't be seen in the dark!"
But, the association with his birthday is not a compromise I am willing to make with the evil things that occur in our world. One day I know he will realize that this horrible tragedy happened on his birthday, but for now I am giving him what I believe all of those parents would want their angels to have; their childhood and their innocence. I will never forget what occurred as every birthday my son has, reminds me that their are 20 families without little ones to ever blow out another birthday candle. So even though I want to slow down how quickly he is growing, I am feel beyond blessed to be a witness of it all!
This is how he looked by the end of the night. I'd call going to bed a super hero and a warrior viking, is a success! Happy 7th Birthday Bean!!