Happy Birthday to Kevin!

Today is my son’s birthday and my mind is flooded with memories of birthdays past. My image from his 1st birthday is his face plant into his cake, and looking up at me giggling with chocolate frosting covering his face. Then, on his 2nd birthday, his cousins drove from CT to be at his 1st big birthday party with his friends from pre-school. It was his 1st time in the climbing structure at our local party place and his cousins followed him around protecting him from the children pushing and shoving, as if he were their little brother. It was so sweet.

Fast forward to his 4th birthday, we went big and took him to Disney World. Squeals of glee and excitement were eventually replaced with overload from all of the fun and crowds of people. When we tried to get him to take a nap, he had a meltdown and fired us as his parents. Despite his temper tantrum, what I remember most was his joy and laughter.

The biggest party of them all on his 6th birthday made me legendary in our town.  I turned my house into the World Beyblade Championship.  My living room was the stadium for battles, my kitchen had a hotdog stand, stadium popcorn machine and stadium snow cone machine.  To make the concessions complete, I spoke with a heavy Boston accent like the concessions at Fenway Park.  What made me a legend was the wall of prizes in my dining room.  I made sure that everyone got prizes and had a good time.  Each year has special memories and I would not trade them for anything in the world. Most of all I remember his joy and how grateful I am to be his Mom. Happy Birthday Kevin! I hope you have a wonderful birthday.

 

A Shake Fixes Everything

We called my brother Scooter, because he was always crashing his scooter and breaking his arms. In one corner of his room there was a pile of his casts that had been cut off. He called them his trophies. I just called them gross and smelly. Our neighborhood hero for his stunts, he always drew a crowd. His fans’ signatures covered all of his casts.

In preparation for his next big stunt, I made posters and taped them to the telephone poles all over the neighborhood. As his manager, I sold admission tickets for $.75 per kid at school and on the way home all week. This was our biggest box office yet.

On the big day, scooter emerged in his best Evel Knievel costume made out of a white jumpsuit he took from our sister Lindsey’s closet with the cape from his superman pajamas pinned to the collar. To get the crowd excited, he circled around the driveway on his bike popping wheelies and waving to his fans. The crowd started chanting, “Scoo-ter, Scoo-ter, Scoo-ter.” Getting louder and louder until they drowned out all other noises on our street.

Standing in the driveway channeling my inner Barnabus Bailey, I raised my hands to quiet the crowd. Sweeping my hands to Scooter, I shouted “Ladies and Gentlemen be prepared to be amazed! Scooter will attempt his most daring feat ever. He will climb up the ladder in the garage, cross the beams and jump into this pile of empty burlap sacks.”

A hush fell over the crowd as Scooter began his accent up the ladder and into the rafters. Barely breathing, we watched him balance as he carefully put one foot in front of the other to cross the side and center beams. He was halfway across, when someone yelled “Go Scooter!” breaking his concentration.

Suddenly his foot slipped and he came tumbling down catching the jumpsuit on a nail in the center beam, and hanging there for a moment. With a loud ripping sound, he came crashing down onto the pavement just two feet away from his safety pile of sacks. The silence was broken, when Scooter yelled “not the jumpsuit! Lindsey’s gonna kill me!” Trying to push himself up, he hollered “Ough!” Looking at his face contorted in pain, I realized that he was not able to get up on his own. The show was over and I raced for help.

After another trip to the emergency room, Scooter returned with 2 new casts; one for each arm. There was a line out the door for days of his fans wanting to sign his casts and bring him presents. When the excitement died down, it was just me and Scooter sitting in a hot living room trying to pass the time.

Curled up in a chair next to Scooter lying on the couch, I was making sure that he stayed still. I had strict orders to fetch anything that he needed. As the temperature continued to rise on this hot June afternoon, what he needed most was to cool off. When he growled at me, I stood up and began to fan him with my mother’s Family Circle magazine. For a moment it helped and then he was miserable again. Leaning her head in the room, my mother asked, “How is he doing?” I shook my head, “Not well I’m afraid. He really needs to cool off.” Thinking for a minute, I asked “How about we all go to McDonalds? A nice cold shake will make him feel better.”

Bellying up to the counter, I said “Give your biggest chocolate shake to my friend here.” Reaching into my pockets, I pulled out a fist of coins from the tickets sold for his big stunt. Scattering them on the counter, I smiled at the cashier as I counted out my payment.

Sliding into his seat and resting his two casts on the table, he waited for me to join him with the chocolate shake. Sitting next to him, I held up the shake and put the straw in his mouth. He took a long draw from the straw and said “Ahh, a shake fixes everything.” He finally smiled and asked “I was great, wasn’t I?” As his greatest fan, I agreed “The best! And, next time you’ll be even better!”