sweet sixteen

-a repost from one year ago today

This balloon. It actually has a very sweet story, which I related to a friend earlier today. Last night I was so tired. Two 6 hour drives in three days, fre-ee-ee-zing temps both days. Hours upon hours of being at a sports park and not on my own home. It got to me. I had managed the hotel, the dinners on the road, the birthday presents. But last night I was crying to Dan--I believe I referred to myself as "such a loser" --because I didn't get Maggie a 16th birthday balloon. This, my tired self insisted, was the pure epitome of good motherhood.

So what did Dan walk through the door with early this afternoon? The biggest balloon I had ever seen. Ostensibly it was for Maggie. But I kind-of-a-little think it was for me, too. Because that's the kind of human Dan is.
This balloon. It went on the road with us. Hidden in the trunk, next to cookies, it rode silently all the way to practice. Its bulk covered by a quilt I always have in the trunk for games--"Mom burrito" Maggie calls me. The quilt doesn't usually loom largely over the back of the hatch--but people don't question what they expect to see, and Maggie is no exception. 
This balloon--carried onto the field by the head coach of Lou Fusz, and I carried a plate of cookies with lit tealight while the girls looked this way and that--momentarily dislodged from their normal by the distraction.
"HEY! Whose birthday is it?" Call the boys lacrosse team playing nearby. 
"She sees us," her coach says to me, then he shouts to the girls. "How about a happy birthday, here...???"
 I shout, "ONE-TWO-THREE!" And nobody, certainly not these girls, think to disagree with the voice of a teacher--that voice which assumes it will be listened to, so it is...and so it begins, 
"🎵Happy birthday to you...🎶"
"I saw you make those cookies!" Maggie accuses me while her teammates sing.
🎵Happy birthday to you...🎶"
"You said they were for school..." and I laughed.
🎵Happy birthday, dear Maggie...🎶"
"You said I couldn't have any!" 
"Well," I laughed, "I lied!"
🎵Happy birthday to youuuuuuu...🎶"
I passed out cookies. The moment had to be preserved for posterity. And I loved every bit. I loved how loved Maggie is. And I loved that damn balloon. 
I went back to the car. She finished practice and arrived not 10 minutes later. She threw in her gear. Loud. Clanking. Careless. Then she slammed the door.
"Oh my God, mom. That was so extra."
I put the car in drive. "It was."
"I freaking loved it."
Happy birthday, sweet love. Happy day, indeed.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published