I woke up this morning as I would any other regular Saturday morning. I lie in bed and recount my son’s morning ritual of letting the cat out the front door, then the slam, lock and pitter patter of feet to our bedroom door. He stands there a moment silently, somewhat creepily, before he says, “Mommy, wake up.”
So I get up, let my husband to sleep in a bit, and get ourselves ready for the day. Socks. Underwear. Pants. Shirt. Vitamins. In that order.
It didn’t hit me until I remembered it was breakfast time that it was my birthday today. Birthdays seem like such non-events after 25. That was 10 years ago now so I’ve had 10 years of “Oh, it’s my birthday, I almost forgot.” Thank goodness for Facebook reminding me the past 5 years, otherwise I’m not sure I’d remember at all.
I was rather bummed that my husband wasn’t going to be around today. He’s been working on a really big van project and today was the day to complete a good portion of it. It’s just how the timing worked out of everything. And add the beautiful weather didn’t help matters – the possibilities of outdoors activities were endless, so Fin and I went to the beach. Taking a toddler to the beach, I was expecting to be building sand castles and push sand around all afternoon with his bulldozer, but surprisingly, Fin played by himself for over an hour. Happy as a clam with a pink bucket full of cool saltwater, a Tupperware container for a scoop and a few trucks from home. Sometimes it doesn’t take much. I watched him for a while until my mind would wander into this place of just seeing what was around me. Not in terms of framing objects for a photograph, which is how I often think these days, but just seeing the endless blue around me and getting lost in it. Things were starting to blend together into a peaceful harmony – sounds, the warm wind, the sky, the sea, the mountains, people enjoying themselves around me. I very, very rarely take a moment like this. It’s not in my nature to do so, especially now with so much on my plate. But it was nice to pause and not think about anything, really. Which is another thing I very rarely get to do. We did make some sand castles together and I buried his legs in sand, which he found incredibly funny. We watched the kitesurfers zip across the water and blew bubbles that zoomed off with the wind. And before we knew it, it was time to go.
The rest of the day was the usual run-around – grocery shopping, waiting in too-long lineups, frantically making supper in a much too small kitchen, bath time for Fin. I was thinking about cleaning up the kitchen from the wreckage of making dinner when Fin was sitting in my lap, squeaky clean after his bath. He was obviously tired and laid his head against me. I was speaking to my mother at the moment when he started to say something but I didn’t quite hear it.
“What was that, bear?” I asked him.
Not moving from me, he repeated in a quiet, tired voice, “Happy birthday, Mummy.”
I hugged him close and felt few tears form behind my eyes. And then I realized I got the best birthday present ever today – spending a beautiful sunny afternoon with my son at the beach which made me forget about all the other stuff for a while. That was the best gift of all.