Caleb, my eldest, turned six today! Not only could he read his own cards this year, he was mature enough to understand our family's conscious decision to move away from having a big birthday party each year. Being that I am a cake-decorating, favor-making, theme-executing, party-loving kind of Mama, I was initially concerned we would lose something of the specialness in shifting our focus at birthday-time. To our surprise, Caleb was agreeable and even excited about the prospect of spending a day together as a family.
We started our day off early by catching the train downtown with Grandma and Grandpa for breakfast at Gold Street Caffe. The affordable 10-minute ride one way satisfied our little train-lover, and still felt special. We then walked 14 blocks or so to the zoo, where Jiu Jiu, Jiu Ma and Calla joined us. We caught the train back, and all had lunch at Mimi's, where Caleb opened some presents and blew out a candle-topped slice of chocolate mousse cake. Having had such an adventurous morning, our family returned home for some intense birthday-Lego building.
Once the little boys were down for their naps, Caleb and I snuck out, just the two of us, for a little date at Sonic. It was perhaps our first date ever. And I was in love. The two of us ordered up strawberry-limeades and sat at our own little table under the afternoon sunshine. We took pictures of ourselves with my camera-phone, and giggled as we made silly faces. We people and pigeon-watched. We told jokes. We linked arms. We talked. At six years old, my son is both a tender sprout and an old soul. This was one conversation:
Caleb: "Mama, coming to Sonic with you is the best treat ever!" Mama: "It really is; maybe we should use this as a reward in the future--like when you complete a chapter book or something." Caleb: "Yeah...like if I do my schoolwork, or clean my room..." Mama: "Well, we just need to remember that rewards are for special occasions. There are many things we do, not for a reward, but simply because we want to do our best to honor God. Mama cleans, cooks, and teaches you boys, and I don't get a reward everyday. I do it to honor the Lord. Do you understand what I mean?" Caleb: "Uh-huh." Mama: "So, Caleb, what are your goals for this next year?" Caleb: "Well, Mama, one of my goals is to work on listening and obeying." Mama: "That's a really great goal. What else? Caleb: "Another goal is that when someone calls me names or is mean to me, I am going to pray that I can just blow them up in my mind." (He had encountered some rude children on a field trip at the zoo earlier today.) Mama: "It's off, honey, 'blow them off.'" Caleb: "And number three, my goal is to do my best to honor God and you and Baba."
Tonight, as all the guys dropped me off for Bible Study, Caleb says, "Goodnight, Mama! I had a great birthday. Thank you for a fun time together."
It was a special birthday.