By any chance, have any of you ever found yourself in near-tears during a trip to Walmart? And not just because you’re in Walmart (although those kind of tears are very much legit)? Tonight, I spent a good 3/4 of my shopping venture fighting back big waves of emotion, even though I was there totally kid- and time-crunch-free, and I got home a little bit ago feeling completely wrung out by the whole experience.
The source of my demise? School supplies and party favors.
Right when I walked in, the bins and aisles of ready-and-waiting writing utensils and folders, notebooks, etc. bombarded my senses and caused a minute of panic because oh-my-gosh, I have to learn how To Do the mom-of-school-aged-kids thing now. What?! How is that even possible?! That question, however, leads me my second trigger of the evening which took on the form of finding little bits to go in the favor bags for Harrison’s birthday party which is honoring the fact that *today* TODAY he turned 6.
OK, there’s my real downfall. My first baby is 6. And after a long day of celebration (and, oh my, a year’s worth of sugar), I am a big pile of mush. Perhaps it is a good thing the birthday boy is already in bed, otherwise I’m not sure his sad mama would make a whole lot of sense to his very literal brain at the end of what he called on multiple occasions, The Best Day! And he’s right – it was.
We started bright and early with a “surprise” as he came downstairs this morning at 6:30. This involved 1) him telling us yesterday that we must in fact do this; 2) Ben setting an alarm for 6:20 so he could get RL and LT up to “sneak” downstairs in time; 3) being reminded by HD at 5:20 a.m. that we needed to surprise him; 4) an opened door but then a crying surprise recipient still on the stairs because he wanted the lights on; and 5) eventual delight and joy at the sight of his super cool balloon. P.S. Mama knows best – I knew there was no way we could possibly know all the rules of this imposed surprise, but at least the fall-out was swift and fairly subtle.
Next up: Birthday Banana Bread! This has been HD’s favorite snack for a good four years now, so to make today extra special, I told him he got to have his very own whole loaf. Seriously, I may have made the day The Best Ever right then and there. His eyes were huge and he was pumped to devour that whole thing (which he pretty much did, save a couple bites). I heart my mini-loaf pan!
After a fun morning playdate with some future fellow Kindergarteners at his future school (see, there’s that pending school stuff again, messing with my uber-hormones), the Welschies ventured to Applebee’s for lunch and the first time HD has ever had people sing a crazy song to him at a restaurant. Again – he was thrilled with the experience (and the chocolate and ice cream that came with it)! And bless his sweet heart, he used his manners so nicely the whole time we were there, and asked at one point, “Could this day *be* any better?!” (a lovely contrast to the “Could this day *be* any worster?!” which we tend to hear when he’s frustrated with us or at the end of a long day). This question is extra cool because when he asked earlier in the morning, “Do I have any presents to unwrap?” and we said no, the different adventures throughout the day were his presents, he didn’t even bat an eye. Could he *be* any awesome-er?!
So, remember when I said my family shows love with food? That is exactly what we did today and so in those terms, yes. Yes, the day could be better because it could (and did!) involve a trip to Eileen’s to get a decorated cookie! Once we got RL to get over the fact that HD did not pick ice cream at Runza for his final treat (Oh, the 3s. You’re so much fun.), we all enjoyed our beloved Hastings staple (of which Ben totally stole half of LT’s when he wasn’t looking which bummer for LT, but score for B and I!).
Other highlights of Harrison’s Best Day Ever? Seeing two trains while we were downtown, playing in the kiddie pool in our backyard (in his clothes) for a good hour when we got home, and his birthday dinner request: Mama’s Stromboli. Note: he ate enough of it (even after all of the day’s goodies) to make me think maybe he turned 16, not just 6.
There were also books read, multiple rounds of “Happy Birthday to You!” sung, phone calls and messages sent from friends and family, and altogether, I think our boy felt a whole lot of love today. He certainly felt grown up, too, because when I asked, “How does it feel to be six?” he quickly answered, “Proud!” which is a pretty kick-ass answer, if you ask me.
I’m proud, too, of everything he’s done and learned, of how big his heart is, and to be his mama.
It is beyond crazy to me to think that six years ago, I was unexpectedly in a hospital room, having gone in to labor almost two weeks early and then delivering pretty fast, getting to know this new little person who would change everything about my life in all the best and biggest ways. We haven’t stopped growing or changing since, so I guess a night of emotions to mark the day is just as fitting as all of the treats that filled our bellies throughout the day.
It’s a darn big deal, this growing up business. I am honored to be part of the process for this amazing kiddo who hit the ground running and hasn’t slowed down since.
Also, I maaaay have purchased some Ben & Jerry’s at Walmart because, hey, this is a “birth”day for me, too – a celebration of my mamahood (and it’s July and I’m pretty-darn pregnant and it’s not like he was sharing that dessert at lunch!)!