Cavanaugh turned six today. How is it possible that I gave birth six years ago? I’ve been remembering it all week, the double-check to make sure we knew had to use a car seat, the suitcases that had been packed using lists from pregnancy books and parenting magazines, all those plans for how it was going to happen.
I didn’t imagine he’d be a ninja by now. Last night, we read On the Day You Were Born, my favorite section of which reads,
“While you waited in darkness,
tiny knees curled to chin,
the Earth and her creatures
with the Sun and the Moon
all moved in their places,
each ready to greet you
the very first moment
of the very first day you arrived.”
This started a discussion about what I was doing on Cavanaugh’s birthday eve, how I lay in bed wondering who he was going to be. But I’ve gotten six years to see. He wanted me to tell him what I know so far and as I listed qualities, he agreed with them: smart, funny, kind, curious. Yes, yes, yes, yes, he said, though he wasn’t sure when I said he was a good dancer.
Though sometimes he complains, “You’ve told me that a million times,” last night he was happy to hear that he’s my favorite.
I asked him, “Do you know what my favorite number’s going to be tomorrow?”
He guessed, “Six.
“And do you know what it will be next year?”
“Seven, because I’ll be seven!”
“And do you know what my favorite day is?”
“Yep, my luckiest best day.”
“What’s your second favorite day? Maybe your birthday. Shouldn’t that be your favorite?”
“Do you want it to be my favorite?”
“All right then, because it isn’t. Your birthday is. You are. My absolute favorite.” And he is. Man, do I love this kid, but I also really really like him.
He was talking about how they went outside at school yesterday to use their four senses to check the weather. When I asked which four, he left out taste. “Did you taste the weather?”
“Yes, I tasted the wind.” This poetic astute boy really understood On the Day You Were Born for the first time last night. And this morning, as on no other birthday so far, he could read my birthday message to him. He can read. He’s six. My god, how did that happen?
I couldn’t have imagined that we’d be making ninjabread cookie with he’s know most of his life so far, who is only two months younger and three doors down. Or that on the way into kindergarten on his sixth birthday, I would sing “Happy Birthday” and he would put his fingers to his lips. “Shhh. People might think it’s weird.”
We walked into school and the boy who Cavanaugh was sure hated him the first two weeks in his new classroom came running out into the hall with a cardboard ninja mask he’d made at home, saying, “Happy birthday Cavanaugh. I made you a present!” and tackle him into a hug. Or that he wouldn’t be able to make it into the classroom because another boy would come running out to hug him too and the whole class would call, “Happy birthday” and the teacher would say, “Come in come in Cavanaugh, everyone’s been waiting for you to get here.”
That’s how I felt when he was born. Like I’d been waiting my whole life for him to get here. I walked back to my car in tears because he is so loved, because I get to be his mom. So, when I say, “Now we are six,” it’s because I feel like I was born into a whole new life when I became his mom. So Happy Mamaversary to me! And Happy Birthday to my ninja. I am so happy you are here.