Justine turned seven yesterday. She has been waiting for this birthday for a long time…at least five months. Everyday, it’s been: “How many months/weeks/days till my birthday?” Whatever shall we count down to next? Now that the day is here, the future lies open…and possibilities are infinite.
I remember turning seven. I had a birthday at the park. I sort of remember the party, but mostly I remember being grateful that it happened. My little brother was due from the womb around the same time, and my mother had warned me that she might miss the party. “NO!” I remember crying. “You have to be there. You’ll just have to make the baby hold on longer.” Good for me, he did. (Shouting a grateful thank you to Hyatt IV, a handful of decades later! Xoxo) Another thing that happened around that time is that my family moved into a new home, the same one my parents live in now. (We moved around a lot but the house continued in their name.)
So it’s not lost on me, the poetry of Justine holding her seventh birthday party at that same house yesterday. My mom, of course, was the star, as she has always been. I lack those extra kid-friendly ideas, and my mother delivered the way only she can. It was her idea to do a craft time, which kept the kids busy and happy. Plus there was a piñata and swimming time. They really didn’t seem to need us at all! It was great to see them all so happy. Look how cute they all are!
So seven, here we are. She cried a little about missing her dad in the morning wishing he could be there for her big day. But as we learn about children, (and so, about adults) they are resilient. The definition of resilient is this: able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.
This birthday is a test to my own resiliency and the healing of time…as her fourth birthday, the one just ten days after the accident was mixed in my memory with the terrible news of Vernon’s kidneys failing suddenly due to some coma-inducing drug. The doctors extended his life by inserting a catheter so he could be dialyzed three times a week (and we all know how that turned out…) but I remember getting this news over the phone, while I ducked into the corner of the Chuck E. Cheese, hoping to hear better amid the rabble of children’s glee and dancing animatronic animals. I still haven’t forgotten that birthday, as it was marked with such drama.
But Synnove reminded me this week of another recollection of the day. She had flown in to be near Maki, and had her youngest, Jenni, in tow. Justine and Jenni were instant mates…or more like sisters, because they argued as well as they played. It was a wonderful distraction. She reminded me that we had thrown a party earlier in the day, up on the rooftop of my friend’s coastal home. Darling little friends and their mothers joined us as we had cake and opened presents. So it wasn’t only dramatic after all. My memories have tricked me. And I expect they will continue to as we go through many more birthdays and special events in our future. The day will be marked by all the collected fun Justine has over the years. It’s already starting to happen.
Incidentally, Justine asked me today how many days till she’s six-and-a-half. This kid does not live in the past.
Look what I found in Vernon’s font just now on the inter-webs. It’s clearly one of his messages. 🙂