Birthdays are all about false hopes. Of growing up. Or false fears. Of growing older. It’s the days in between each birthday that matter.
It’s a myth you know. You don’t actually grow older on your birthday. You and I are ageing as you read this. Age is just a number. And birthdays. Well birthdays are overrated.
December 8, 2012 started and ended like any other day in our family. We woke you up and wished you. We brushed your teeth, bathed and fed you . Then we did birthday-ey things together as a family. We went to the park, to the beach, and had dinner outside. You huffed and puffed at the 3 candles on your birthday cake and I secretly blew them, so that your face beamed at the tiny victory over the flames. Upon your request, the candles were lit thrice and thrice I blew them secretly so that we could see you smile. We put you to bed, kissed you goodnight and the day ended.
I watched my little boy that day. You were just the same as the day before. You still hated milk. You were still jealous of your lil brother. You still couldn’t aim quite well when you peed.
3 birthdays so far, but the days I will remember are those ‘normal’ days in between when something you do or say makes me realise you’re growing up. Too soon.
There’s been a few such moments so far:
– You were about 6 months old, and playing with a bunch of keys, and Daddy took them away. You burst into tears. Big fat sad tears rolling down your cheeks. I remember that day as the day you encountered loss for the first time. I prayed you would have the strength to deal with it in your life.
– You were almost 10 months old when you took your first steps . I had blogged about it here. In all the diaper commercials the babies always walk towards the mother. But you toddled away from me. .. I think that signalled your need to be independent . And I began my slow journey of letting go.
– You were about 2.5 years old and had bit of a potty accident one day. I remember being so furious. Words I wish I hadn’t said were spoken. I remember my anguish, frustration and my sense of failure. You see, we mothers must blame ourselves. You appeared unperturbed by my outburst and I walked you to school in stony silence.
Then something happened as we reached the entrance of the school. You looked at me and burst into tears. Like your heart would break. Mine broke right there. A thousand shattered pieces marked with regret, shame and guilt.
That day I realised. You’re listening. Always. That my words would become your inner voice. I vowed to watch what I say to you.
Turning 3 years old is in actuality no biggie. It’s just another day. It’s the other little moments which matter.
You’ll someday learn that X and Y are not just alphabets in your Alphabet Song , but they are big players of a puzzle called Algebra.
Someday you’ll realise that when Amma smiles at some people, it doesn’t quite reach up to her eyes.
You’ll get there. These scary, worldly dimensions we all take on. The process of growing up. It has begun. And I don’t need no cake and candles to tell me that.
But I’ll be right here, hoarding up the little moments in between in my memory . Wider face, longer limbs, more questions, stronger reactions. A lifetime of birthdays, my son. And an eternity of memories for me.
Note: It’s a kind of an annual tradition to ensure I write one birthday post for Ryan and Steve every year.
Click here if you want to read the previous birthday’s blog entries: