Monday, January 31, 2011

The Birthday Trip

A few months before My Heart turned six, I found a trip to New York City to see The Lion King on Broadway. We could afford it and Crow said I could take him and the birthday trip was born. Over the years, we've done Disney twice, NYC twice, Boston twice, Everett, Vancouver, and now Anchorage. Twice I simply couldn't afford anything. Once Crow booked something else for him the same week he was supposed to come to me. And once there was a Wii instead of a trip, at his request. Otherwise, my Heart's birthday trip is pretty much a given.

Because he is older, this year was a little different. We hung out. We played a lot of cribbage and watched even more netflix. My Heart had schoolwork to do every single day. We hit coffeeshops, went for walks, and did exciting things like laundry and grocery shopping. It's easier to do ordinary life things now that he's older. I didn't have to schedule the hell out of the week, ensuring that every single moment was interesting. He's old enough now to read a book, noodle on his computer, whatever. But there wasn't a lot of boredom, because we talked and laughed and kept ourselves entertained.

Because he is older, this year was...bittersweet. He's eighteen now. The birthday trip is no longer a given, after this year. Next year, he heads for college and a life that has its own schedule and new priorities. As I told him at the airport yesterday morning, hanging out with your aunt and uncle, no matter how beloved they are, probably won't be as important ~ and honestly, shouldn't be.

But as I waited for him to walk through security, I couldn't help but remember the way I had once had to brace myself for the impact of his little body running full speed to me once he saw me. Playing games in airports; trying new foods; getting to have sugar for breakfast and dessert for lunch; big band music; tea at the Ritz; invisible aliens; pictures of pigeons; seeing cities for the first time; planes, trains and automobiles... Eighteen years of memories and birthday trips and Aunt Mame time.

It's hard to see him grow up, let him go, know that this was probably the last birthday trip of its kind. The good news, though, is that, as Lithus put it on the way home from taking my Heart to the airport to go home, we have quite an unusual relationship. It may have been the last birthday trip of its kind. It's far from the last trip. We will have other adventures together. More importantly, though, he'll have adventures on his own and with his own friends and the family he creates. And I'll take credit for teaching him the world is for having adventures in. Because really...what amazing adventures await him...

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Neo-Prodigy said...

Beautiful post.

And that is one lucky kid to have you in his life.