Memorial Day weekend was a big one around here. We moved on Saturday morning, spent Saturday afternoon in pediatric urgent care as Henry started having some breathing issues, and then Sunday was his 3rd birthday. Only as I mentioned here, we actually told him it was Monday, as the move and medical stuff had everyone too worn down to celebrate. Monday was in fact Etta’s birthday, and yes, I do plan to continue forcing them to celebrate together indefinitely. I basically get more chill in the kid birthday department every year, with Henry’s first marked with decent pomp and circumstance, his second with donuts and all our friends in the park… and this 3rd/1st birthday was us eating grocery store cake with moving boxes as our key decoration. Those balloons? They were given free to Henry by a grocery store employee in our new neighborhood after Henry informed her that he wasn’t allowed to have a balloon for his birthday because he had been naughty. People- I had sent him to the grocery with James to buy a birthday balloon. THAT KID.
Birthdays in chaos- is there anything more fitting to commemorate the past year of these two souls?Henry loves flags of any type, especially American flags. When I took him to the store to pick out a cake, he was beside himself over the good fortune of his birthday falling on Memorial Day and the subsequent flag cake availability. Etta, not quite sure about the aggressively frosted cupcake her brother selected for her.…But she rallied and decided that cake was an excellent idea.The great and incessant tragedy of parenthood is how much gets lost. In the moment, it feels impossible that I will forget any precious moment or touching word, that I will lose the sound of their tiny voices or the quirks that reveal their personality. But so much will gets lost in the ebb and flow of life. I mourn every single detail that is forgotten, even when I can’t remember what they are, because all of them is so precious to me.
The way that Henry at 3 years old is utterly obsessed with suitcases, airports, and baggage claim, and the way his favorite game is for us to go on a trip to different parts of our house, discussing the minutia of security and packing en route. The way that he becomes absorbed in playing trains and only sits still if he is being read to, which he can do for hours. His utter delight in helping James work with tools and the way that he calls playgrounds “praygrounds.” His adjective choices that match my own so that everything is “phenomenal” or “so lovely” or “a little tricky” or “magical.” His preference for the Bible story where Jesus, freshly resurrected, eats fish for breakfast with the disciples. How he’s convinced that, in the same way that Etta’s name is Marietta but we call her Etta, his name is “Mari-Henry but we call me Henry.” The way he wants nothing more than “this whole family all together” and how much he adores “my Etta-girl.”
The way that Etta at 1 year old loves to quietly crawl into the “pantry of solitude” whenever she gets overwhelmed and surround herself with paper goods. The way that she sucks her thumb and just wants to groggily snuggle after naps. The growl that is still her favorite form of communication, rivaled only by her love of yelling her own name. Her complete and utter distaste for nature, best exhibited by her determination to hold both legs in the air when put in grass. The way that she trolls her brother every chance she gets, needling him and messing with his toys while assuming the most innocent of expressions. How much she and Henry adore each other and always seek each other out. Her love of spicy foods and total intolerance for fruit.
Happy birthday Henry WIlberforce and Marietta Elizabeth. You all are the other’s best gift and the greatest blessings in our family.