Birthdays, Comparison and the Moment

Eight. I can’t believe it. How’d we get to 8 so fast? Seems just like yesterday it happened all too fast. Now, don’t get me wrong, had someone suggested that “it goes quick” when you were into overnight feedings and not sleeping all night I would have grinned and said “uh-hu,” but secretly I was wishing just for a night of sleep and for “it” to go by quick.

We turned 8 today. Eight!

Well, it does. Sometimes it goes by frighteningly fast. There was a time when we could put you in one room, walk away, and come back and there you’d be…just sitting there waiting to get moved, to get entertained, to be fed…

Now we have three 8-year-olds. Two very busy girls who are best friends one minute then mortal enemies the next. But they always come back to the friends part.

And then there’s Theo, doing his own thing.

I have talked before about enjoying the moment for what it is but something happened last week that took my breath away. I just was totally unprepared for it.


The girls’ cards were easy to select. Gretchen, simple, girly but not too much… sparkly but not ridiculous. Eight is great, message straight and to the point. Even scored her a giant dinosaur coloring book at the same time.

Olena, the Snoopy fan, also easy to buy for. “You’re turning 8” Belle card. Pink, adorned with Charles Shulz art and words, very girlie. And SCORE a giant My Little Pony coloring book.

And then, what about Theo?

My yogurt-melt loving little Theo with the smile that can melt the coldest of hearts. Lover of all things Beastie Boys and the Police. Lover of things that light up and play music. The cards for boys were big on it characters of the moment… Mine Craft, Phineas and Ferb, SpongeBob Squarepants, cards on being a good sport, playing soccer or baseball, etc.

And that’s when comparison showed up.

These cards represented “typical” boys. Your 8-year-old should be running around the neighborhood playing in puddles with other boys. Playing catch with dad. Doing boy things. Into video games and dirt and kickball…

My son, is not.

“Holy,” I gasped. “My son is going to be 8?!”

I started to cry. Alone in the birthday aisle in Wal-Mart. Comparison got me. I tried to brush it aside but it wouldn’t let go. I did notice a Superman card with an attached bracelet. It plays the Superman theme…and the bracelet, I thought, would be flip-worthy. I didn’t shake it — the ugly comparison feeling — until Saturday morning.

“Don’t Stand So Close to Me”

Tonight, the girls opened their presents in a flurry. Theo did his thing but we did sit down and I showed him his gifts…mostly unwrapped. I opened the card and read it to him. He took the bracelet and ran away. His eyes lit up when he realized it played music.

And he was happy. And that’s all that matters. (And he asked quite nicely to watch The Police DVD…)

Until next time…


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