Max and Juan on Juan's 39th

Today was Juan’s birthday.  Max planned a surprise birthday party for his dad.  It was a small family affair.  Just mommy, papi and Rosie the cat.  Our housemate was an honored invited guest for the dinner and cake part.  Every moment was orchestrated by this child who had dreamed of this party for days. 

When Juan arrived Max told him to stay outside while we hid in our assigned places.  We jumped out on cue to sing the birthday song that Max had written.

Happy birthday to you

Happy birthday to you

We’re glad that you’re 39

And we love you now you’re 39.

And then there was the dinner.  Max said the grace, but only after I had lit all 8 pillar candles he had placed in the middle of the table.  He said his prayers over the candles as solemnly as at a Sabbath dinner and then blew them out.  We urged them to leave the candles lit–they looked so pretty and festive.  But he insisted.  He claimed that your prayers don’t come true if you don’t blow the candles out.  

Then came the toasts.  We needed to clink our glasses 39 times–taking breaks every 10 or so clinks to offer up a toast to the birthday man. 

Max carried out the football icecream cake.  He had picked it out especially for Juan because of Juan’s love for the game, a love which frankly neither Max nor I can understand.  Max’s love of Snickers Carvel icecream cakes of course had nothing to do with it.  Cake was followed by a family art project and then the games.  By the time it was all over we were all exhausted but blissed out.

It was one of the moments when we shined as a family.  When all the awkwardness and sorrow of the last several years just disappeared.  When we could be exactly and everything that Max needed from us, despite our woundedness and all the ways we continue to disappoint each other.  

And for this, this moment which we will all cling to when it gets hard again, for this I am most thankful. 

One Response to “Shining”

  1. Jen Ballantyne Says:

    So wonderful that you were able to have this and to give this to your son.