exactly 17 years ago I was born into motherhood, thanks to this boy(the tall one).
Heavily pregnant with Hans, Ben clung to my hand while Stefan scampered in and out of the clothes racks. It was our first really large clothing purchase, but fresh with the knowledge that I’d be a mother of three boys, I’d decided to buy the most durable, high-quality ski suit I could find. We agreed on this one– Obermeyer, size 6(he was almost 5), grow-with-me cuffs, hide-away hood and a matching vest bib. Oohing and aahing over every detail, we plunked down 1/2 our monthly grocery budget and took it home.
Ben sledded, skiied, built snowmen and snowforts in that suit until his arms and legs stretched past even the expandable sleeves and cuffs. He made a great show of giving it to Stefan and explained every marvelous detail and function. It wasn’t a hand-me-down, but a treasure
Ben has always received the first of our parenting, for good and ill. Yet as he passes it down he makes each step look exciting and promising to the younger boys. He encourages a love of knowledge, good music and books in our family, twirls with Mary and wrestles with Gabriel.
Writhing on the hospital bed 17 years ago, I thought I would surely die, but was instead, reborn. Ben made me a mother and continues to mold and break me daily.
As you might imagine, we celebrate Ben’s birthday with wild revelry around here. The windowsill is decked with antique Valentines, flowers and twinkling pink lights. Chocolate heart shaped waffles for breakfast, cream puffs for lunch and batch after batch of brownie cupcakes, sugar cookies and chocolate chip hearts ready to abandon on unsuspecting friends’ doorsteps later tonight.
When the Valentine displays hit the stores in January I pick up a little something for Ben on each shopping trip– a Reeses’ heart, a box of Sweethearts, pink and white m&ms– it goes under his pillow for a monthlong celebration. This morning, every child woke to a pile of heart-shaped treats and handmade cards(this the only time of the year I venture into scrapbook stores– but have you seen the delicious Valentine papers, ribbons, stickers and such? I could eat them for breakfast!).
The only gift Ben asked for this year was a travel journal. I chose this one with leather ties and refillable pages. It’s a symbol that he’ll be gone soon, off in the the world without me– but also of the pages and adventures that we’ll fill together.
Happy Valentine’s Day! May you have a chocolate covered cream filled day of JOY!