Monday, April 30, 2012

I Gave My Son a Box of Beans for His Birthday

I'm officially the mother of a two-year-old boy.  Something about this fact has made me an emotional mess.  On the actual day of his birthday, I was fine.  It didn't even phase me that much the night before when my husband, who put the kids to bed while I was out, mentioned, "I said goodnight to our one-year-old for the last time."  The comment made me think, "Hmm.  Maybe I should be getting all sappy about his birthday too."  So I went to tuck my children in, and as I gazed at their sleeping faces all I could think of was, "Do we have anything good to eat in the fridge?"

We had a grand time the day of his birthday.  He was adorably excited about his birthday cake, shouting out over and over again the names of all the sports on it, "Beeball!  Bootball!  Babeeball!"  The soccer ball didn't turn out so well, so I threw that one out and made another basketball.  My husband, not a soccer fan, was totally fine with that. 

We ate in the "train" at the Old Spaghetti Factory, and watched the trains chug by the window.  The children were reasonably behaved, no embarrassing screaming meltdowns (see the parenting low of last week), so we considered the big night out a smashing success. 


Then the highlight of the day, present time.  We gave our two year old,...drum roll please...a box of beans!  Yes, it's true.  And no, this is not the part where I'm a crazy mess (I haven't gotten there yet).  This is the part where I'm a genius.  My husband was a bit skeptical, but wisely responded to my idea with a "Sure, babe, if that's what you want to give him." 

You see, apartment living means no yard and no yard means there is no sending the kids out to play.  Sigh.  However we do have a decent sized porch.  I was determined to find a happy porch activity for the kids.  A sandbox would be dastardly.  A rice box would be a similar disaster.  But a bean box seemed doable. 

The squeals of delight (from both kids) upon the bean box unwrapping were reward enough for the quizzical looks I got at the store with my cart full of beans.  The screaming tantrums of the evening came when we had to pull the both of them out of it when it was way past bed time.  The bean box has provide literally hours of entertainment these last few days.  My husband is a full believer now.  And yes, I do have to sweep up more beans than any pregnant woman should have to.  And yes, I have found some beans in some...ahem, unusual places (beans can and do make their way into panties and diapers).  And yes, the next renters will find beans wedged into the cracks and crevices of the porch.  BUT, the kids are having a ball with the box of beans.

I sat on the porch with them Saturday afternoon, the sun peering through tree leaves to make golden spots on their blond hair.  Ellie was announcing a circus through the kitchen funnel/"megaphone."  Aiden happily busted out some moves when it was time for the Aiden dance show at the circus.  We laughed good hearty belly laughs together. I let the pile of laundry sit and the dishes in the sink get crusty, and I just soaked in the magic of my kids.  They meandered from bean box to kiddie pool (the other birthday present), and did what little kids do, pouring and stirring and splashing and chattering.  The extraordinary ordinariness of it all made me want to freeze it, to frame it forever in my heart.   

It's moments like these that make the weariness fade.  These are not easy days with the husband's long library hours, the pinching of pennies, and the three little humans sucking the energy out of me.  But these are also good, good days.  I want to bottle up their chatter, maybe even their cries and save it for the quiet days when they are gone.  While the hours stretch long as I count down the minutes until bedtime, I know the years will fly, and all too soon they won't be my little ones anymore.

So I was feeling all these things all deep in my heart, and then we watched a movie with a sappy scene where a grown son comes home to his mother.  And that sent me over the edge.  I went to bed all sniffly and snotty, carrying on in the dark to my half asleep husband about how the mere thought of my toddler boy becoming my man son made me all achy.  "It will happen all too fast," I whispered. 

Then the very next morning in our Sunday school class, someone shared about how he heard a father of grown children say that he would pay $10,000 to go back and have a weekend with his kids when they were young.  I looked at Aaron, my eyes all big and my throat swallowing hard.  Knowing he was seconds away from having a weepy pregnant lady making a scene, he shook his head and said quietly, "Just think about baseball."       

I chuckled and managed to choke back my raging hormones.  Yes, I'm a crazy emotional mess, but it's good.  Good to feel, good to hurt, good to cherish.  These kids of mine have done this to me.  My son has messed up my world since the day he was almost born in the back of a Beijing taxi.  And I adore him for it.  Happy 2nd Birthday, Son.  Please don't turn 20 too quickly, okay??             



  1. Cake is beautifully awesome, as usual. Beans are brilliant. Hopefully I'll have space to copy it next year. Aaron's baseball comment should win some award for hilarity. Miss you, friend.

    1. Thanks, friend. Can't wait to hear all about up North. You'll have to post lots of pics of your new digs. :) I'm sure the coming weeks are going to be super full for you. Hoping it all goes smoothly. Miss you!

  2. Hey Danielle, I'm from the U.S. Glad the busy bag swap stuff was so helpful! Have fun!