Sunday, October 15, 2006

Happy Birthday, Ben Boy

My baby is eleven today.

I guess it’s time to stop saying the extra pounds on me are because I just had a baby.

We have a few birthday traditions in our house. One is that you can wake your mothers up at an ungodly hour of the morning to open up your birthday presents. Another is a doorway full of streamers to burst through on your way to opening up your presents at an ungodly hour of the morning. And you get to choose your favorite dinner- at a restaurant (please oh please) or made by me at home.

The last birthday tradition is one my friend Nancy gave me. Nancy gave me many fun ideas about parenting. She would sit with her two boys and take out a map and randomly, with eyes closed, pick a place. They would then research everything they could about the town or city, learn its history and on the next break from school, go there. She had also left her kids a treasure hunt that extended all over the world- literally. She would be somewhere and find a beautiful spot and bury a treasure box. She said sometimes she put in some money, sometimes a little trinket or a note. When she died, the kids were given the list of clues. I don’t know if they ever went to the small town in England she told me about where she found a stunning tree in a farmer’s field and put a box with about a hundred dollars in it in the ground. But they will always know their mother thought of them often even after they were grown men and wanted them to continue to play, as she did, their whole lives.

Nancy's tradition I have done for years is to write a birthday letter. For each boy, every birthday, I write a letter about who they are, the things they like, their world as it is defined on that birthday. When they reach 18, I will have the letters printed and bound to give them.

Hopefully by then, it won’t be at an ungodly hour of the morning.

Happy Birthday, Ben Boy.


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