My Dearest Tanner,
You and I are both pretty good at telling it how it is. It’s one of the characteristics I love about you. While it may put me in some awkward positions now and again, I know it will serve you well in the future. Truth? Your birthday wasn’t the greatest. In fact, it was pretty much the pits. I knew today would be nothing like we planned all thanks to someone in the second grade giving head lice to Blake to bring home to the rest of us. We had a rough April with weeks of sickness and just when we thought it was all over we were hit with “the infestation” as what we have lovingly referred to it to keep ourselves from crying our eyes out. I never thought I would see the day that you would ask your Dad to buzz your head, but you did. And you and I may have shed a tear over your gorgeous head of hair being out of commission for a few weeks. However, hours of hair checks were not for you and I get that. They’re not my favorite either.
We didn’t make it to the movies, we didn’t get to go out to dinner where we would have had the waiters sing “Happy Birthday” just to see your face get red and for you to roll your eyes at the embarrassment of it all. You and I didn’t even feel much like birthday portraits and I knew it without you having to say it. One thing you don’t realize, Tanner, is the sheer agony that is “mom guilt” and while this entire situation has been out of my hands, I felt that guilt all day. I even tried to one-up-you by telling you about my “Sweet 16” birthday that I spent laying a new hardwood floor alongside my mother and grandfather. I told you that we win some and we lose some and this birthday was just one of those that we will have to make up for next year and that we would make the best of it.
But you know what the most amazing part of today was? Even in spite of all of the stuff we find ourselves currently dealing with? I never once heard you complain.
You woke up with a smile on your face knowing all too well that Dad and I would be spending hours laundering every article of clothing worn the night before, every pillow that a head was laid on and every blanket that was slept with. You knew that there would be hours of hair checks happening between all four kids, but you were overjoyed to wake up surrounded by balloons despite being camped out in the family room with everyone else. You knew we couldn’t let your birthday go by without our usual traditions, right?
Your face lit up when I uncovered your eyes and you saw that brand new mountain bike sitting there with a big red bow on it. You even told us it was totally OK that we change dinner plans to take-out. And when you came to me in the kitchen while I was folding yet another load of laundry, wrapped your arms around me, laid your head on my chest and told me thank you for one of the best birthdays ever? Oh, Tanner. Your heart amazes me and I could not be more proud to be your mother.
There will be good birthdays and bad birthdays and while this birthday is one that you probably won’t remember all too well later in life, I will be sure and bring it up when you are facing another bad one. Just so you and I can laugh. And aside from birthdays, there will be good times and bad times. In those moments? It’s our attitude that makes all the difference and the faith that something good will come out of it. Or hey, at least the faith that it won’t kill us.
Thank you, Tanner, for reminding me of this. Thank you for making today feel special and for helping us all forget the bad stuff and relish in the good. And while I still promise that next year’s birthday will be better, I am so glad I got to spend today with you and celebrating an amazing ten years.
Happy Birthday, Tanner.
With every part of me and more,
birthday letter, motherhood