A Birthday Trip
*Please note: With an awareness of my family’s safety and privacy, I do not refer to our children by name on this public blog or its Facebook page. They are being referred as Spock, Stitch, and Jack-Jack (listed by birth order from oldest to youngest). Though I may post pictures, I intentionally keep their faces hidden. Family and friends, please help me keep their privacy by refraining from using their real names in comments. Thank you for understanding!
When our oldest, Spock, was laying in the hospital a few months ago, he asked if he would be well by his birthday. After assuring him that he would feel much better, Spock asked for one thing – to go to our hometown for our neighbor’s Halloween party and to celebrate his birthday. How do you say “no” to a request like that when your child is in the hospital after weeks of sickness? The kid had seriously chosen the opportune time to ask!
Going back was important to Eric and I too. The kids have been through a lot of change in the past year. Our neighbor’s party was something that they always looked forward to and we wanted to give them the trip back.
Vallerie, our neighbor, is family to us. She has loved on all of us as if we were her own. For the years we lived next to her, she hosted an annual Halloween party that the neighborhood kids highly anticipated. They dress up and trick-or-treat at the homes of the neighbors attending the party.
After that, the kids have a costume contest in which everyone always wins. Between the candy and the costume prize, they walk away with quite the loot! Vallerie provides small pumpkins for the kids to paint (she is brave on many levels, ha) and there are games to play.
The rest of the party is spent watching the kids play together in the yard while the adults visit and enjoy a meal together. Vallerie’s hospitality is something we don’t take for granted – especially in a day and age in which most neighbors barely speak. Part of what made moving so hard was leaving such wonderful neighbors.
Another activity that Spock wanted to do while we were home was to go to our favorite zoo. It was one of our family’s favorite spots to enjoy when we lived in the area. The weather was perfect and some family came along.
The next day, we celebrated the 8th birthday of our oldest with family and friends! He picked a military theme and my parents graciously allowed us to host at their house. They have a picnic pavilion that provided the perfect spot to celebrate.
Before we concluded our trip and headed home, we spent some time with the boy’s paternal great-grandparents. MawMaw and Pa had recently mailed the boys some pumpkin carving tools with the request that they see pictures of the boy’s creations. Eric had the fun idea of having the boys carve pumpkins at their house so that they could take part of the fun. We discovered one little boy had no intention of touching pumpkin “guts” (which is hilarious considering the things he did while potty training… but that’s another story)!
Eight years ago, a little baby was born… our firstborn child. I remember holding him in my arms and crying with joy as his bright eyes looked back at mine.
I blinked. Now there is a boy staring back at me. A bright, eager, kind, and thoughtful…. EIGHT year old. Now, more than ever, we celebrate this day with a gratefulness that can not be articulated. We praise God for his presence in our home, his health, the ability to run and play, his appetite, his sweet heart and, most of all, his love for Jesus and others.