my sweet, angelic, hysterically funny first born turned 9 last week. as is common with his birthdays, he dreaded it. honestly i think this came from having an older daycare provider when he was young. she was also the funeral coordinator at the church. do you realize just how many people die each week? it's a sad, sad amount. because so many people die each day, and because she was the funeral coordinator for the church, do you want to know how much talk of DEATH there was? i never realized this until ethan got older. as loving a woman as she was, i think she scared the ever loving shit out of my son.
children are inquisitive little beings. inquisitive and honest, both of which are beautiful qualities that led to emotional scarring. at least, it did in this case.
as much discussion as there was about death in that daycare she always told my son that the individual died from being old.
ding. freaking. ding.
my son doesn't want to get old because then you die. if i turn another year older, i'm closer to death.
i get that logic, but damnit....................... birthdays are supposed to be happy. not morbid. every year, like clockwork my boy gets morbid. this year he cried and cried and cried saying he was going to make an effort to get up early so he could be 8 for just a little longer. he was born at 8:38am. he was bound and determined this year to be up by 7am. and damnit, he was.
knowing my sweet bambino would be upset that morning, while he slept i blew up thirty balloons and scattered them all across the floor of his room so they would greet him first thing.
by God it worked.
he was so happy and tickled pink that it was his big day. there was no talk about the time, there was no talk about NOT wanting to turn nine. all that we saw was that angelic smile he was born with nine years ago that day. it was awesome.
he's had a rough summer. his best friend (and cousin) moved to wisconsin. his grandpa got very sick again. his other grandpa got very sick again. his dog is on his last legs (and even then it's only when they aren't slipping out from underneath of him.) --- it's been an emotionally charged summer, but only in the saddest of ways possible. that entire week before and up to his birthday was nothing but one crying fest after another.
and i can't say i blame him.
but fast forward three days past his birthday to his actual birthday party. you wouldn't know there was anything wrong with my baby. he was happy --- and doubly happy when he saw his best friend/cousin/wisconsinion show up for his party. it was euphoric!
the party only consisted of members of his football team. due to the mass amount of kids on his team, we requested no gifts. people HOUND you about that, did you know that??? after learning lessons about true starvation this summer, ethan asked that if people insisted on bringing a gift, that it be a small cash donation so he can make his own contribution to the World Food Program. honestly, this was his idea.
it was one of those moments in life that sorta takes your breath away from the sheer amazement of what just happened. i cried. i cried, i cried, i cried. what a gem.
two hours of partying later and he had raised enough money to purchase 600 meals for people in Africa. SIX HUNDRED MEALS! he felt like a hero... his exact words.
thinking back to the lessons of this summer, while they hurt like hell, i truly love what they taught my son. beyond what true starvation is, my son learned about the importance of supporting one another - that we can make a difference in this world through things both large and small.... and that sitting back waiting for others isn't the answer.
but can i share a little secret with you? one of the children i was a nanny for just went off to college this year. in fact, it was just last weekend. she, too, wants to change the world, and i believe she's going to do it. because of her belief in changing the world with education, my son realized he could help the people in Africa... it wasn't far fetched, or out of his reach. because of her he came up with the idea of sending birthday money to Africa. he didn't just have to think about the starvation, he knew he could take action and do something about it. After all, Paige has made two trips to Kenya since January and raised enough money to board 18 students at the Royal Kids School in Mombasa.
THANK YOU PAIGE! without your hard work with E3, my son wouldn't have made that connective step to helping others. you inspired him.
for those of you reading this today, please visit her website Global Paige and check out how awesome my baby girl is. i've known her since she was 6 and couldn't be more proud of who she is today. she truly is changing the world and blazing a path along the way. a true inspiration!