Friday, November 26, 2010

Red Writing Hood: Happy Birthday World

My boys live in a Happy Birthday World. Their birthdays, technically, are not until February or July, but that's just a pesky detail to them.

They are in this world and they are awake. Thus, they celebrate.

This is why I am thankful. This is why I am blessed.

My two year old stood on the couch the other day. He grinned, and said, "Mommy JUMP!" He immediately rocketed off the couch and landed with a thud. I waited as he sat silently, contemplating the practical applications of gravity.

This could go two ways. I held my breath. I stepped forward, ready to pick him up, ready for the silent scream, followed by the eardrum-blasting wail.

He laughed. Uproarious waves, cool and playful. "AGAIN!" he cried. Another ride in his Happy Birthday World.

My four year old collects money. He pours it from one mason jar to the next, and hides it all over the house. It's as if he survived the Great Depression, and never regained trust in those rag-tag, good-for-nothing banks.

I bought him one of those Share-Save-Spend banks. The idea is that some money is for saving and spending, and a third of the money also needs to go towards charity--to help those in need.

He glowered and mumbled, "I don't wanna share my money with anybody. I want to keep ALL of it."

Despondent, I turned to Facebook. I formed an action plan. I was ready.

Over macaroni and cheese, I told Owen, "There's this girl that needs our help."

Owen nodded, and said, "What girl?"

"Just a girl, honey," I replied. The "girl" in question was a Toys for Tots box at my local gym. My Facebook advisers recommended that Owen needed something concrete--a person--to share his money with. He also needed something concrete to buy.

My friends also recommended that I make all this concreteness a girl so he wouldn't be jealous of the toy.

Baby steps.

"Why does the girl need our help?" my son asked, his eyes wide.

"Well," I said, "Her parents can't afford a lot of presents for Christmas this year."

Owen's took a gulp of milk. "Why not?"

"Well," I said, tuning my words like guitar strings, "They just had a rough year. What do you think we can do to help the girl?"

Owen stirred his macaroni, thinking hard. He said, "Maybe we can give her some money?" I waited, trying to let him find his own answers. "Or...maybe we can buy her something!"

I tried to refrain from clapping my hands. I said, "What do you think she would like?"

He thought again. "How about a doll?"

I smiled, "Yes. Where can we get money for a doll?"

Owen's eyebrows shot up. "My bank!"

He emptied all of his money---three years of accumulated pocket change and birthday money---into the "Share" section. Every cent

Another shiny wrapped present in his Happy Birthday World.

When there is joy to be found in a couch, and grace to be unveiled in pennies and dolls, the message is loud and clear---every day is a celebration, every day is a rebirth.

So, Happy Birthday, dear world. You've never looked better.


Muliebrity said...

It's good to be your son.

Cheryl said...

Good job, mama. Last year when Sawyer turned 6 we had people bring canned goods for a food bank instead of gifts. I took Sawyer when we went to drop them off (we had over 70 pounds of food!) and he got a tour of the place and could see exactly who he was helping. It was pretty cool to see how excited he was to know he was doing good.

Ms. Moon said...

Wow. I'm impressed. And reminded. Thank you.

Kim said...

Love this. I love the jumping off of the couch and the letting him figure it out. I was thinking about this the other day - how as a kid in a family of seven, my few toys were so precious. It made me wonder how I was going teach my boys to appreciate what they have and know how lucky they were to be born into good fortune. Sometimes a little fiction is what's needed to help them get there. Hope you are well!

Coby said...

I love this: "They are in this world and they are awake. Thus, they celebrate." It totally changes my perspective on obnoxious wrestling matches, the incessant singing of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," and jumping off of furniture.

I think I'll loosen up and celebrate more. Thank you for this perspective.

Matty said...

I love the innocence of children. If they think they can fly, then by golly, they can.

And what a great lesson you helped Owen learn. If only adults were so thoughtful.

Ratz said...

I am moved. This is a beautiful post. thank you.

Anonymous said...

I feel like I always tell you this but they are going to be wonderful men someday.

tulpen said...

I love this. Lucky boys there, their Mamma is doing it right.

Anonymous said...

Uplifting! Love it. Your friends provide wise counsel indeed. Good job for choosing them.

Margee Moore said...

Adorable post. Happy Birthday World to you too! Love your writing!


Joanna Jenkins said...

I have a lump in my throat. What a fantastic story and a great lesson learned.
High five.

When did I become my Mom said...

And this is why I love visiting you. There's a website called "Kids Give Me Hope" that I visit from time to time. This would be a perfect story for there.

Thx for sharing this!

Unknown Mami said...

Oh this post made me so happy.

Anonymous said...

I love these last to posts. This one especially made me feel warm and praceful.

Kristy said...

I love this! This was great! So well written. A great take on the prompt.

Cat said...

Yay Owen!

Marla said... an older mom to a younger mom, may I just say, I am so extremely proud of you.