Nothing today went quite as planned. A lesson I've learned often and hard on this journey of motherhood. Two years ago I thought I would miraculously and in spectacularly warrior-female fashion give birth to Bar with some attractive and heroic grunting and sweating and he'd slide into this world formed, present, and obviously at peace. Little Bar, he has lived up to his part of the deal. As for me, the best laid schemes of mice and men go oft awry. And yet, there he was. And here he is. Two years old.
I had created for today a virtual anti-plan for his birthday. No party. No elaborate plans. No cake. No balloons. I do not think I completely understood how attached I was to this notion - if I react as if nothing is happening, perhaps nothing has happened. In the scheme of life on Earth, nothing indeed has happened. But, oh, little Bar, this is his day. Two years old!
In spite of my vigorous and vocal protests to the contrary, I had planned a surprise for today. A big, fat, cathartic surprise in the form of a perfectly edited and sound-tracked home movie documenting his first two years of life (life!). Plucking away at the project over the last few weeks during nap times and the rare unoccupied evening hours, I'd gotten about as far as his baptism at six weeks old. I hunkered down last night to finish, intent on birthing this perfect project in the same way I had failed to birth him - quietly, easily, and with grace and beauty. And so, of course, he woke at 10:15 PM crying and calling for me. I went to him, at first, with frustration; I was in the middle of making something perfect and important - why can't I ever do anything?! Storming into his room, in the scant few hours before he actually turned two years old, I was greeted with "Mommy? Hi Mommy. Mommy hug?" Mommy hug? If there has ever been an invitation to be present in my own life, that was it. A moment entirely mine to take. And take it I did. I dove into bed with him. I scooped him into my arms. I kissed his forehead, breathing in his sweaty sweet smell of youth and active dreams. And, he pushed me away. He did not need scooping, my ever more independent boy. He needed a reassuring hand on his back, the sound of my breath and, finally, to fall asleep with one of his arms wrapped around his toy giraffe, one hand firmly grasping my pointer finger, and his knees curled up beneath him. Peace, I thought. Peace he felt.
That time, with him, in the quiet dark of his room, reminded me that Bar needed no video with perfectly chosen music. Neither did the rest of the world. It was an exercise, though a valuable one, in what I needed. Knowing Bar, he will accept it with gratitude when I finish it, be it next week or for his third or fourth birthday. And so, after settling him, I went off to brush my teeth, wash my face, and drift off to sleep knowing he would call for milk before dawn and we would nurse in this beautiful day together, mother and son - in small moments still of one body - elaborate media presentation not required.
Happy Birthday, Little Bar. Happy Birthday.