Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My Big, Little Man

What a month, and what a way to cap it off with a couple of birthday celebrations!

I would be remiss if I didn't at least post (very quickly) that my better half has entered another milestone, yep, 40. And he did it well, without pomp and circumstance (which is the way I think he wanted it).

However, I believe we both have a desire to just fly past this next birthday and go on to better things, like the fact our baby boy is now 3! And this blog would just not be complete if I didn't take a post to include pictures of how our several celebrations turned out for Duke.

Thanksgiving is a big holiday in the Rath family.  It's the one absolute certain time of year that the entire family gathers in Tennessee at Grandma's house to celebrate the holidays, both Thanksgiving and Christmas and since three of the family have birthdays that fall that week as well, it's birthdays too - Cory on the 26th, my nephew Kevin on the 28th and Duke on the 30th.  This year that meant #'s 40, 17 and 3.  Wow.  And grandma always comes through with plenty of sweets.

The funniest part of the approach to Duke's birthday this year is that about 3 weeks ago, Cory made an off-handed comment about how his birthday was "coming up".  Of course, in 3 year old speak, that usually means sometime before the next major meal he's going to have.  I remember it clearly, it was a Sunday and on the way to church he kept saying "It's my Birthday!" to which Cory would reply, "Not yet Duke, it's coming up soon."  I didn't think much of it, until we were on the way home from church and again it came up a few times, "It's my Birthday Mommy!".  Slowly it became clear, this kid seriously thinks that today is his birthday.  Uh oh.  Yep, that afternoon we had an actual birthday party to attend for a sweet little friend of Jack's, however as we prepped to leave the house the "It's my Birthday" turned to "We are going to My Party!" and "I get presents!".  Uh oh.

So after a few rounds of trying to reason with my 2 year old, soon to be 3 year old - not really a reasonable possiblity, and I must add he gave his #1 fit thrower brother a run for his money, we got in the car.  I figured at worst the child would finally figure it out when the birthday cake showed up in front of Sophia to blow out the candles.  If there was a fit to be had at that point, I'd just deal with it then.  But just like he always does, Duke came through and suprised me when I least expected it.  As we drove to the party, slowly he started to reason things out himself.  If there was a way I could have bottled that day, I would have. 

He started the trip with "It's My Birthday!, Daddy said so Mommy!" in a bit of a shout - I'm serious, he pulled out the "Daddy knows more than you do Mommy!" attitude - can you believe it, well actually I can given my rank in the house between this kid and his dad.  Nonetheless, I reassured him that his birthday was coming in a few weeks, it wasn't today, but soon.  Slowly the rant changed to a question, "It's my Birthday Mommy?" to which I responded, no, not yet, but soon, in a few weeks.  And that's when a magic mom moment hit - "It's your birthday when we go to Grandma's house!"  And there became my savior, Duke now had a moment and place in time he could relate his birthday to.  It got real quiet in the car for a bit, Jack had conked out and I had assumed Duke had as well since there was not a peep out of the back for at least 5 minutes (that's like an eternity in my world).  Then all of a sudden, in a near whisper from the back seat came

"Mommy, it's not my birthday today."

It was as if he was resigned to the fact and finally acknowledging it to himself.  And in that moment, he shined.  Duke has always been quick to figure things out.  He's lucky as he has a big brother that's not so much bigger that he can follow along with.  But in spite of that advantage, he's always interpreted situations so quickly.  It's a quality in him that is quiet but when you see it in action, you know it's special.   And by the time we arrived at the party, my sweet, strong, quiet amazing 2 year old was sharing with everyone that it was not his birthday, YET, but it would be his birthday when he went to Grandma's house!

So, in the spirit of Duke's birthday, it was a big bang the first night of our trip to Tennessee with a cupcake cake by Grandma, in the shape of a 3, with Darth Vader to cap it off (Duke's favorite villian!)

But the fun didn't end there for our birthday boy.  Upon returning from Tennessee we would be remiss not to continue our tradition of waking up our little guys on their birthday with a cupcake lit with a candle in their bed - so Monday a.m. in walked Daddy and me with a cupcake, lit up with candle in the dark and a shiny new vintage Darth Vader figure for him.  A day early, yes, but because of some required arranging of Daddy's travel schedule and the fact Duke shares a birthday with one of his school friends we opted to have his party at school on the 29th rather than 30th.  And I'm sure Duke approved moving up the opening of presents by a day had he known any better.

How's this for a smile at 5:45a.m.!?

All of it was wonderful - the Star Wars cake at school was a hit, the party hats, Duke's being bashful (!) as his classmates sang Happy Birthday, opening his presents, it was all a part of such an amazing day.  But nothing can quite express how fabulous it was as much as Duke himself!

Happy Birthday my little big man.  You make my heart smile everyday in ways I can't express.  I just know that someday you will be the one that holds Mommy's heart in his hand bigger than any other.

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