Sunday, May 07, 2006

Birthday Dreams

In lieu of presents for his birthday (the move and all) I decided to collect wishes for Sam from our family and friends. I knew I was going to do this at some point ever since he was born, although I have not yet worked out the details of what we will do with his “wish box.” I’m not sure if we will read his wishes to him each year on his Birthday once he is old enough. Or maybe we will save wishes for him every year and then give them all to him at some significant age, like when he leaves for college or turns 16. Maybe I will add a new wish to the box for him each year from Hubby and me, along with a bit about what he did that year. Or maybe I will have Sam write his birthday wish each year and add it to the box with the ones we have collected. We have some time to figure it out I think, but I love the wishes we received from our friends today at his party.

It almost intimidates me, some of the things they wrote, because now it is time for me to write my wish for my son. Perhaps I am a little lost since I don’t know what exactly we are doing with these, or perhaps I am just overwhelmed with the fact that my baby is one year old today and I have so much that I want for him in his life that I have no idea how to narrow it down to words.

What do all parents wish for their children? Happiness, right? For them to be healthy and enjoy life. For them to feel love, and sorrow, hope, joy, excitement, and fear. For them to live their lives to the fullest and appreciate what is happening to them as they do so. For them to feel fulfilled emotionally, spiritually, mentally. But now these words are too big to understand – they become meaningless, non-specific. What do I want for him and what I am I really saying? It’s too much.

Whenever Hubby and I discussed having children it always turned to the happiness we felt as children growing up. We wanted that joy, wonder, and excitement for our kids, and we wanted to be a part of that again, to help create it. I've also been thinking a lot about my childhood this week in response to Rachelle's writing assignment for "My Life Monday." Over the week I was asked to recall my most memorable childhood experience, but for me I was only flooded with images of delight; there was not one specific memory that took the cake (Birthday pun for ya). I just loved childhood - all of it. And that was what Hubby and I looked forward to the most: to have a child who got to feel those wonderful things we took with us, for the first time.

Today, my wish for Sam is that he stay a child as long as possible. Ironically, I don’t mean that because he is my baby and I don’t want him to grow up. I mean that I want him to feel that awe and curiosity and innocence for as long as he can hang on to it. I want him to feel the thrill of turning around on his bicycle to see that the parent who was holding him up is 25 yards back, yet he is still moving forward. To feel the disappointment on Christmas Eve when his mom comes in after he has worked so hard to stay awake, to tell him that she saw on the news that Santa is running late and is still a few thousand miles away, and he realizes that he won’t be able to stay awake long enough, no matter what he does. To feel the fear of finding a slug (which he has never seen before – what is it?!) on the ladder of his tree house and the relief when he finally gathers the courage to return 4 days later and it is gone. To feel the wonder of sitting in that tree house as the sun goes down and hear the change in the noises of the woods and feel the sudden chill in the air on his sun warmed arms. To jump on mattresses, to build forts out of boxes, to dance before he cares what he looks like, to lick the batter off the spoon, to fall asleep on the way home from fireworks on the Fourth of July, to ride his first roller coaster, get his first pet, make his first best friend…

I have no idea what I’ll actually write for Sam’s wish. But today, I wish for myself to help give him all of these things and more. Hubby and I wanted a child so that we could share with him his childhood, and I wish that it could last forever.


Young, by Anne Sexton
A thousand doors ago
when I was a lonely kid
in a big house with four
garages and it was summer
as long as I could remember,
I lay on the lawn at night,
clover wrinkling over me,
the wise stars bedding over me,
my mother's window a funnel
of yellow heat running out,
my father's window, half shut,
an eye where sleepers pass,
and the boards of the house
were smooth and white as wax
and probably a million leaves
sailed on their strange stalks
as the crickets ticked together
and I, in my brand new body,
which was not a woman's yet,
told the stars my questions
and thought God could really see
the heat and the painted light,
elbows, knees, dreams, goodnight.

8 Comments:

Blogger The Constant Gardener said...

Very thought provoking....it's hard to put into words all the things we want for our children.

One thing I want for my kids is for them to be better than me. To be more successful, happier, have more fun, see more, do more, and acomplish more.

At the same time, I worry about putting too much pressure and setting my expectations too high.

I love your wish box idea! I might just have to steal that one!

10:08 AM  
Blogger Mama D said...

That was a really sweet post. As much as I love my mother, there were a lot of things that were wrong with my childhood. They weren't all her fault but I felt that as my mother she should have been more protective. My wish is that I can give Audrey the childhood that I never had. A mother who is there, who cares and who helps to make growing up the happiest experience it can be!

10:36 AM  
Blogger emlouisa said...

Good post! What I want for my kids? All the words to the song "Dream Big" by Ryan Shuppe and the Rubberband.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Mama D said...

By the way, Sam's outfit looks great!!!

12:24 PM  
Blogger Nikkie said...

I think the wishbox is a great idea!

Your post was very sweet, I enjoyed reading it very much!

12:56 PM  
Blogger Rachelle said...

That was a beautiful touching post. It is so hard to define what we want for our children. We want so much. I find there are not words enough to express my love, my hopes, and my dreams for my son. I love the wish box idea!

1:20 PM  
Blogger Cmommy said...

The Wish Box is a fab idea! Happy Birthday!!

I know that the #1 reason I love teaching 3-5 yr-olds is because of their sense of wonder. :-)

5:44 PM  
Blogger scraphappymama said...

Love the post. Sorry I haven't been by lately, and I have missed a lot. I too find it hard to put into words the dreams I have for my kids. In the end I want them to always dream big, love deep, play hard, and remember always.

11:11 PM  

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