Photo: Welp. What can I say? He’s seven. He’s practically glowing with his brilliance and his beauty. And I? I can’t help but be a little heartbroken.
All the other birthdays have felt like hard won victories. Congratulations! You survived another year! Sleepless nights, diapers, sickness, tantrums… Every single year was a glorious, yet exhausting, uphill battle. The birthday was the summit. You made it! Bask in the sunlight and feel proud of your hard work!
Seven means something. It’s a big number. It’s a meaningful number. He’s absolutely no longer a baby. A bit of the preciousness is gone, replaced with the boundless beauty of opportunities yet unrevealed. He’s the walking embodiment of very good luck and good fortune: handsome, smart, optimistic, capable. He’s healthy and strong. He’s kind and he’s thoughtful. Fiction of all mediums would tell me that he’s just too good to be true. I suppose, then, there is a preciousness that remains…. so much still to shield him from. So much out there that can still do irreparable harm.
This is the year when the world will get that much bigger for him. He’ll be exposed to so much more. I have to be smarter, faster… steady on the curriculum of right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable. Motherhood doesn’t get easier; it just gets different.
Seven really does hurt my feelings. The tension between wanting to keep him this small forever and wanting him to grow up to fulfill his destiny is very real, very raw. It feels like the perfect age but, then again, everything that he has the potential to be is starting to reveal itself. You want to pull back the layers to reveal more, to be delighted by all the little insights that will be learned along the way.
So I’ve been sighing between celebrations. Major was a very gracious host for his big laser tag party. Cake and ice cream were eaten, arcade games played, prizes won, and lasers shot at friends and dads. Everyone had fun. Yesterday, the birthday boy got a special birthday blessing from our rector, which made me cry. Today, 30 cupcakes were sent to school. Tonight, spaghetti and meatballs, Major’s favorite, will be served. And then, yes, more cake. Lord, we need some salad around here! We’re goin’ on a detox tomorrow!
Minor has been such a big support during this weekend. He is brimming over with pride for his big brother. You can see it in his little face. If he could be his brother, just to share in the glory that is being 7, he would. It’s been adorable to watch. I’ve been doing my best not to smother my youngest child. He told me I was squeezing him too hard while we were watching Hey Duggee yesterday. I hadn’t even noticed that I was hugging him. He gave me a look, but resettled into my lap. He’s getting too big for it, too. It’s all just a little too much.
Major’s birthdays also mark a funky milestone for me. I’ve been a stay-at-home mother for seven whole years. I left a job and never looked back. But the longer I’m away, the harder it is to make choices. In those blurry first hours of motherhood, I had no thought of what my life would look like in seven years. I doubt, though, that I would have imagined my current circumstance. I do not regret providing what I have been able to for my two boys. They mean the world to me, and I’ve tried to give them everything I can without really and truly spoiling them. Then again, I can’t help but wonder what seven years could have meant for my own dreams and opportunities.
Choices have consequences, Dear Reader. I know that I’m quite fortunate that these are mine.
It’s Monday, Dear Reader. Cold and soggy, but not snowing, so I write with joy. Rain tomorrow means good writing weather. Good dreaming weather. What dreams are you chasing this week? I hope that you’ll share. Let’s achieve something awesome this week.
Until Wednesday, take care.