what a difference a year makes

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mr. B's birthday, 2010

Tonight we celebrated Mr. B's birthday. Next week we'll have VBS all week, so there won't be time for a party. I don't remember enjoying a birthday party so much in quite a while. Once everyone had left, I asked Mr. B how he felt about the night. He said he had 'super much fun'. Then he added, "I didn't think I would blow out the candles. I blowed out the candles." I said, "yes, you did!" He says, "Last time I couldn't blow out the candles, but this time I did."

That small little statement has just overwhelmed me all night. He had such pride in his little voice. Something I hadn't even thought twice about, but Mr. B had been thinking about it all night. He knew it was a big deal. Big enough that it became the primary descriptor of his entire party. Something I didn't even remember until he reminded me, but you know what? He's right. It's a big deal.

In the picture above, you can see a bit of the expression on Mr. B's face from his 3rd birthday. It was full of anxiety and fear for him. He didn't smile much. He couldn't/wouldn't blow out the candles. He made the appropriate facial expression, but it was Wendell who actually blew out the candle for him. We have some video of his 3rd birthday party that I find so disturbing now. He was a different child. That was a little boy overwhelmed by anxiety, fighting depression, struggling to trust, longing for forever.

This year was so very different. There was still anxiety, but so little that probably only Wendell and I noticed. There was mostly just a happy little boy who enjoyed celebrating his birthday with his family and friends. A little boy who is currently conked out in his new sleeping bag, listening to his new CD, doing a 'sleepover' with his older brother in the bottom bunk. Tonight, we could put Mr. B to bed with promises of next year's birthday, with assurances that he will be celebrating his birthday with us for the rest of his life. Tonight, my little boy could blow out his own candles.

Mr. B's birthday, 2011

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