Five years ago today I gave birth to a gorgeous little baby boy. Zachary James has not ceased to enthrall and entertain us since his dramatic entrance into the world (took seven weeks of bed rest and yet he still just wanted to crash the party early).
Zach wanted to go to bed early last night so that his birthday would arrive sooner.
All of this birthday-talk had Matthew (who has been home sick with a cough and fever all week) reminiscing about his. I asked him if he recalled his 6th and 7th birthdays. Both days, he cried when he realized that he felt no different; he didn’t “feel six” or “feel seven.” It was very disappointing. I said that maybe this year – on his eighth – he’d be mentally prepared (to feel no different).
As I said this I saw Matthew’s eyes beginning to well up. “I don’t like having birthdays,” he wailed. “I mean, I like the presents but it means each year I’m getting older…and (sniff sniff)…closer….(sniffle-sob-snort)…closer to dying!”
He literally wept, shoulders shaking with the injustice of aging and the slow march towards our imminent end.
I tried to pump him up about the whole heaven-place, but to no avail. He apparently feels completely betrayed by God by the fact that he won’t have his toys and house and all his STUFF. It’s like the whole heaven thing is totally lame due to the lack of favorite possessions and he wants none of it.
I comforted him to the best of my ability (though honestly, he was fairly inconsolable about it).
Later, at bed time Zach was eagerly anticipating this morning’s arrival.
“So, Zachary,” I cautioned, “You know that just because you’re turning five tomorrow doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily feel any different.” I figure that maybe I can learn from the trauma of my first born to help number two.
“Yes I will!” Zach exclaimed. “I’m totally gonna feel super five.”
Matthew looked at me exasperated, shook his head and said, “I already tried warning him, Mom.” Zach’s a lost cause.
So, this morning after singing Happy Birthday, I offered to put a candle in his selected birthday breakfast (cereal – the boy’s a creature of habit and a cereal addict, what can I say?). Zach laughed and scoffed that this was a very dangerous idea.
After a few moments, I decided to just face the potential ugly awaiting us head on. “Do you feel different Zach? Do you feel five?”
Zach grinned and nodded, “Yup, I totally feel five.”
Matthew glared groggily across the table at his brother and shook his head in disbelief.
“So, what’s it feel like?” I asked.
“It feels like I’m five...and funnier."