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.
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.