Monday, November 23, 2009


So, last Friday, a Certain Someone in this household turned four.

I'm not sure why she had the audacity to do this, since if I've told her once, I've told her a hundred times that she is my baby and she is NOT ALLOWED to grow up. Obviously, I wield a great deal of influence over her.

This is how the birthday went. I think Hallmark MAY have been secretly filming.

Regarding the doll we gave her: "I'M GOING TO LOVE HER FOREVER!!!"

Regarding the new book given to her at bedtime: "OH BOY! A BIRTHDAY BOOK FOR ME! I'M SO EXCITED!!!"

Regarding her birthday party: "I had the BESTEST TIME EVER!!!"

Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. I am not making this up.

Oh how NICE for you, you're thinking. How very SPECIAL that you have this totally grateful child who creates such moments of joy and delight for her parents.

But wait, y'all. May I put the case that I have earned this privilege? Let's step back in time, shall we, to another fourth birthday that took place in this household a little over five years ago. It's the one I proudly trot out in any parent-to-parent conversation that resembles a Birthday Nightmare Story Swap. And I win.

So, Ian was totally into Thomas the Tank Engine in those days. And after considerable discussion between my husband and me, it was decided that he would be receiving The Ultimate Gift from us that year: THE ROUNDHOUSE.

Thing is. He'd decided weeks in advance that he wanted a jungle animal birthday party. It was to be The Event of the social season, more or less (well, less, but play along with me here). We failed to realize what precisely was taking place in that quirky brain of his, and just how all-encompassing that theme was intended to be.

So the morning of the birthday, we arrive in his bedroom, glowing, proudly bearing the gift that we just know will elicit yelps of nirvana.

We place it before him. He starts to rip off the paper.

And the second he sees the side of the box, he says …

"Oh. Not an animal. Just the roundhouse."

Y'all. I died. And when I came back to life, I heard, in a dull, repeated monotone:

"Oh. Not an animal. Just the roundhouse."

That unwrapped box sat nakedly in the center of the room with all three of us staring miserably at it, and me thinking, Are you telling me that I could have bought you a five dollar plastic giraffe, and that would have made you HAPPIER THAN THE EIGHTY DOLLAR (MINUS FORTY PERCENT BECAUSE OF A COUPON I HAD) ROUNDHOUSE?!?!?!

Oh, and it gets even better, because at his party that afternoon, he opened a few educational toys carefully selected by his friends' thoughtful parents before tossing each one aside and plaintively calling, "Didn't ANYONE get me a jungle animal???"

I died again. Then I came back to life, and all my friends were laughing at me. But in a friendly, sympathetic, so-glad-I'm-not-you-right-now sort of way.

It all worked out, because not only did he end up enjoying the roundhouse (AND behaving like a perfect gentleman at his fifth birthday party, thank you very much), but I had myself my own little revelation, once my hysteria subsided. The Lord very tenderly reminded me of how often I snub HIS gifts. As a loving Father, He gives me the equivalent of the roundhouse, and I sulk for the Made-in-China hippopotamus.

"Oh. Not a new camera. Just a devoted husband."

"Oh. Not an outing to the ballet. Just three healthy children."

But, there's hope! I'll be turning five any day now!


cjoy said...

I love it! Both parties you described are SO the way it goes with kids. And how completely true that we snub our Father's gifts so easily. What a loving reminder.

Vanessa said...

You didn't mention about the bazillion shoes she got!!!!! One day Hannah, you will get your new camera and a night out at the ballet. I think it's around the corner ;)

Naomi said...

So true, how we snub the Father's gifts or at least take them for granted. Oh Lord, grant us the light to appreciate and enjoy You and all that You are to us! Children help expose us in so many ways!:)

Eclectic Mama said...

Happy birthday! There was a great deal of hoopla and preparation for her big day here at our house, so I'm delighted that she enjoyed her special day!

Anonymous said...

Oh, Hannah. I love your writing. So funny and realistic- BTDT

Laura-mama to Justin and Nathan

Era said...

Happy birthday! I'm glad it turned out well and I appreciate the parallel drawn at the end of the post. Thanks for the reminder.

Bear Creek Mama said...

Okaaaayy, you got me again:) Tears....and a chuckle. Thanks for the reminder of His generous and bountiful gifts.