I smell like gasoline and I just peeled off jeans covered with hay and my eyes are puffy but not too puffy to see my wine glass. We’ve been talking about birthdays and celebrating and what is the difference between your birth day and the day you have a birthday party. It seems, to six year-olds that you can’t have a birthday without a party and it all should happen on the same day or just every day until sufficient celebrating has been completed.
I explained to McKenna that our family can’t drive over for a party in the middle of nowhere on a Wednesday so we will celebrate on the weekend but we will still have fun on their actual birthday but she wasn’t having it. She wants balloons and presents and a gaudy dress the moment she opens her eyes.
I read an article once that said you should make your children belly laugh every single day. Since most of my kids were still at belly-laughing age I tried it for a while and we got pretty good. I would tickle them through fluffy covers or try to cross my eyes while saying something hilarious like “butt” and they would laugh and I would laugh and we would win the day. Some nights, close to bedtime, I would realize we had forgotten our daily dose of giggling and I would rile everyone up despite what my mom-schedule told me to do and I never regretted it once.
The giggle-a-day mission slowly faded but if there were ever a phase I should bring back it would be that one. Giggles carry a magic wand.
In the car McKenna asked in the one-thousandth way she could manage why we are not inviting everyone and their neighbor over on her actual birthday and I bit my tongue because why can’t I just have an uninterrupted conversation in my head for one whole second?
I cried tonight for the first time in a long time. You would think, by the pouring out of my words here that I am a crier, but I’m not. But these days before always get me, I don’t know why. So on the day before my triplets’ sixth birthday I cried in the bathroom while my family rotated knocks at the door as they would any other day if I were showering or had managed to brush one tooth.
Mark got home and took the kids on a hayride through our yard and tried to drag me from my blubbering self but I insisted on staying behind the bathroom door, crying while no one knocked. I heard them giggling through the field and shrieking over bumps and waves of laughter crashed my pity party. I planned to go outside just to take their picture but ended up smushed in our mini-hayride, relieved the sun was going down because it was pretty and no one could see my triple-sized eye sockets. We sunk in six inches of muck on the last acre of our yard and as we piled out of the wagon, Mark freed the back wheels, spraying us with a mud shower.
For one thread of a second I saw everyone as the wearers of at least one extra load of laundry and the needers of yet another bath. And then I remembered the celebrating and that we’re here so we probably should be celebrating shouldn’t we? I’m going to aim high for a belly-laugh-a-day but if I can’t get that we’ll celebrate something anyway. A loose tooth or a bus arriving right on time or a late fall soccer game that does not involve frozen behinds, it’s all worth a little party in the car or locked eyes and a shared smile.
Six years ago we were given Parker, McKenna and Hadley’s first day and soon after we were told how easily the next could be taken away. If Hadley left us with one thing it is a reason to smile through tears when they insist on falling, because we’re alive enough to do it.
Happy Birthday to my sweet Parker, McKenna and Hadley
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