Half.

The Who turns 5 and a half on Tuesday.

We mark half-birthdays. Because when you’re five, when you love birthdays, when you’re an only child, when you *have* an only child, when you love cake, when you’re not young enough to count halves anymore, when the 27th of May sounds like a day for a celebration — that’s when you celebrate half-birthdays. And, collectively, The Who and I are all those things. So celebrate we will. With half a cake. And half a gift (with the other half hidden somewhere in the house to be found via scavenger hunt.) And half of everything in the lunchbox. When you love an excuse to do everything according to a theme, that’s when you celebrate half-birthdays. We’re also inviting three and a half friends over for a dinnertime playdate (which is really just serendipitous because my friend is pregnant.)

The days are long, but the years are short. This is what someone told me once when I was in the throes of those first couple of months of motherhood. I’m not sure if it was supposed to entice me to “savor the moment” or “count my blessings” or some other subtly shaming truism, but all it did at the time was remind me of how long the days were. Of course, now, I see it. I think I’ve said it to some other new moms (which I am not terribly proud of.) But I am moved to say: Five years? Five years plus a half? This kid’s been alive — wait, I’ve kept this kid alive for sixty-six months. That’s half the time I’ve lived in Philly. Half the time I’ve worked at my current job. 1/8 of my own entire life. Longer than I’ve had Facebook (ok, I had Facebook before that, but I didn’t use it.)

I get that five and half years old is nothing compared to how old he will eventually be (God-willing, knock wood, spit spit, etc.) But it feels like an awful long time to me.

Speaking of long, have you see this kid’s limbs lately? He’s been waking up the last few nights — maybe bad dreams, maybe allergies — and I’ve been gathering him into my arms in the rocking chair to soothe him back to sleep. He’s all legs and arms and I am amazed that just five and a half years ago, he was inside my body. At what point does a mother stop being just scandalized by that thought? Does it ever go away? He is absolutely unruly with those arms and legs, all white and soft and skinny and strong. Damn. He is strong. He could burrow a hole right into my thigh with just his big toes. And he’s all over the place like a puppy. Like a Great Dane puppy. All huge, clumsy paws, knocking things over.

 

This doesn't even give you the best perspective. You'd need to see him unclothed for that, which...you won't.

This doesn’t even give you the best perspective. You’d need to see him unclothed for that, which…you won’t.

He’s already talking about his sixth birthday party (which I, and several friends, get uninvited to semi-regularly) and how many days until he turns seven. He’s lost one tooth and has another wiggling its way out, too. He’s registered for kindergarten. He won’t be in the youngest group at camp this summer. He knows how to drive. (Ok, no he doesn’t. But it won’t be long now.)

Five and a half. Bring it.

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Grace.

There have been a lot of little things happening lately — things worthy of a quick post here and there — and yet, none of it has made it out of my crowded head. Too much for a Facebook post. Not enough for a blog post. Same old story. And all of this against the backdrop of a looming tomorrow deadline of submission to my writing group, which I haven’t attended in several weeks and which will be a struggle to attend this week. But seeing as I won’t be able to attend the next time, this is a no-brainer. Keep writing. Keep submitting. Go — even if it’s hard. I made that commitment to myself. I’ll write tomorrow.

Tonight, I post.

I. Kindergarten.
Despite requesting AM kindergarten (why?) The Who was slotted into PM. We were told, via form letter, that we could request to be added to the wait list for AM, but we haven’t done that. And we won’t. Everyone wants AM. I wanted it, too. I thought it would be good to get up and out. To have the rest of the day to do with as we pleased. To adventure. I still think that would be nice. But, as cynical as I often am about so many things, I do have this sort of woo-woo belief in the universe and the doors that open. The PM Kindergarten door was opened. Because the teacher he will get is the best one for him? Because the class size might be smaller? Because it turns out that he does his best work in the afternoon? Who knows. I may never know. But I do know that it feels right to leave him where he is, even though he probably won’t know anyone in his class (the few kids he does know were put in AM) and the 2.5 hours a day that he is in school will cut right into the middle of anything else we might want to do. But this is the road we’re on.

…Speaking of roads…

II. New Car.
We got one. It smells divine. It’s shiny and clean (save the two inevitable slashes of stark white bird poop on the back passenger door. Already.) I am damn proud of the negotiation skills I put into practice in order to take home this car at nearly $2000 under invoice. And every time I get in and drive it, I think about how I earned it.

It’s a Prius V. It has a stigma attached to it. I had no idea (they don’t charge extra for it — or, maybe they do…) Driving it makes me pretentious. So say my students and other assorted adults I know. Driving it, they say, makes me a 40-something, liberal, tree-hugging suburbanite parent. Well: guilty. And I decided that I don’t mind. Maybe it’s the middle-aged lefty mom’s BMW. I’m ok with that. 150 miles in and my gas tank has only clicked down a gallon and a half. Plus, it’s blue. Rainbow blue. Blue ribbon blue, to be precise. It’s dreamy.

III. Misc.
a. Tooth Fairy. She came. She wrote a letter in a fancy purple font. She referenced “Fairyland.” She connected her “t” to her “h” in her signature. These are the things he noticed. He wrote a letter back to her, copying the scrolly font, thanking her for giving him three golden dollars instead of the just one he expected. Gratitude all around.

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You’d have to know that he actually says, “Ftank you” instead of “Thank you” for this inventive spelling to actually make sense.

b. Garden. It’s time to get planting. The best day of the week to do this was a migraine day. Now the basil seedlings sit alongside three bags of nice, rich soil and the raised bed, which has been predictably overtaken by mint and weeds, waits to be tended to. I’m told the Home Depot was woefully understocked with vegetable seedlings. Maybe tomorrow we’ll go in search of something to grow. It’s amazing that despite my distaste for worms and bugs and sweat, gardening has become something I look forward to.
c. Broadway. We went there. A couple of weeks ago. And we have plans to go back in a couple more weeks. I owe this incredible bounty to my brother-in-law who has both the means and the connections. Aladdin last time. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella next time. How lucky my boy is to be able to hop in the car and find himself in the orchestra section of the New Amsterdam on 42nd Street, experiencing live theatre. At 5 years old. Semi-regularly. My friend has a tattoo that says “unmerited favor.” Grace. I’m not terribly religious, but sometimes the inventory-taking makes me a believer.