Our baby had his first birthday today and was forced to pretend-blow out (not that he can blow out anything at this point) a Christmas candle. Yes, years from now, Jack will look back at pictures from his first birthday and see his mom standing with his cake on one side and his dad with a short, fat, candy cane-striped candle (with sparkles, no less) on the other.
He'll be laying on his therapist's couch recounting that moment as the moment he knew he was...The Second Kid.
We had lots of pretty legit excuses. We're preparing for a month-long trip to Thailand, holidays winding down, dog passing away, et cetera, et cetera.
But, as I wallow in this pool of mommy guilt, I remember tirelessly and meticulously planning all three of Marley's birthdays. We're talking catered food, drink, homemade food, traveling circus acts (live animals), life-size drawings of her favorite Dragon Tales characters, a homemade beanbag toss made out a huge drawing of, again, her favorite Dragon Tales characters, arts-and-crafts stations...I could go on. I did all of this while running my own business. So, it's not like we haven't been busy all along.
That magical second kid, though...it's not like you get doubly busy. It's like you get quadruply busy. Yes, quadruply. And, your cute little Mommy Brain forgetfulness turns into full-blown I'm-a-moron-and-I-would-forget-to-wipe-my-ass-if-it-wasn't-for-the-toilet-paper-roll-next-to-the-seat idiocy.
Still, that is no excuse for the low-rent Christmas candle for your baby's first birthday.
And, as I sit here beating myself up for the Great Birthday Candle Debacle of '09, I am reminded of a story about a friend-of-a-friend. This guy, who shall remain nameless, was on a group vacation one summer in Connecticut. One night the friends ended up in a rather intense and heated game of Scattergories. The guy was on a team with his girlfriend who was,allegedly, giving sub-par clues. In his increasing frustration with her going-nowhere-fast Scattergories skills, his eyes began to bulge, his face turned beet red, and what started off as slight perspiration on his forehead became angry beads of sweat trickling down the sides of his face.
Before he, or anyone else, knew what was happening, he had screamed out at the top of his lungs(we're talking like a strong gust of wind blowing her hair back) in his girlfriend's face: "TRYYYYY HAAAAARDER!!!!!"
I can't remember how the story ends. Does she dump him right there? Does she try harder? Do they go on to win? The real point is this: I am here to say to you, Jack, that I too will try harder.
Let this first birthday not be indicative of birthdays to come. You will not only have candles, but you will have my birthday blood, sweat and tears...just like your sister.