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.
"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.