Friday we celebrated Casey's 7th birthday.
I'm not sure why sevens are considered lucky-- but I can count at least two reasons I'm one lucky mom: Casey and Marcie. This year, for the first time, Casey expressed intent interest in the "day he was born." We told him how we'd been at Disneyworld with a friend of his from school's parents. We told him about the airplane, meeting his birthmom and the snowstorm. We told him how he cried at first, but we held him while we fed him. We told him how lucky we felt then-- and how lucky we still feel that his birthmom picked us. Casey thinks we're lucky, too. And he is not quick to let us forget it. I'm okay with that.
This weekend I continued my organization spree by cleaning out the "junk closet," which is what our closet in the computer room/ study had become. I came across the certificate of flight Casey got when we flew home from Ohio shortly after he was born. I came across a lot of photos from his first year of life. I found some school work he'd completed in preschool. And I found the letter we'd sent to Casey's birthmom to introduce ourselves. Our featured picture was me with short, blond hair. On the back were several photos of us with our nephew Sal (who was an infant at the time), and pictures of our then-pets, only one of whom still lives. We all looked (and were) much younger.
Casey asked me to read him the letter, and I did. And I must say, I was pretty impressed by what we'd written. Not because we're super cool and great writers (though we are- ha ha). But because I think we've really held true to the goals we articulated, the promises we made. We wrote about how much we longed for a child. We vowed to be involved in his life by volunteering at school, attending sporting events, and reading together. We explained that we believe in hard work and the Golden Rule, and we wrote about how we would preach tolerance of all races and religions and creeds while at the same time emphasizing our own beliefs. But above all, we promised we would fill our home with unconditional love. I think we've done these things. So far.
Of course, Casey is only seven. He has a (hopefully) very, very long future ahead of him. But so far, I'm impressed. And I don't really think I can take the credit. Casey is just a great kid. He is genuinely sweet. When I asked him to pick just a few kids to invite to his birthday, he refused. He wanted to include the whole class. Not because he wanted a lot of gifts, but because he couldn't possibly choose just a few friends-- he likes everyone. When a boy in another first grade class got hurt on the playground on Friday morning before school, Casey ran back to the playground to find the boy's backpack while I walked the kid to the office. Then Casey offered to stay with the boy in the nurse's office until school started. This wasn't someone Casey hangs out with regularly. But Casey was undeniably concerned.
When I see Casey, he still gives me bear hugs and big grins. He asks me to crawl in bed with him to cuddle on cold mornings. He curls up next to me on the couch. When he's being mean, he knows it and he apologizes for, literally, "acting like a jerk." When it comes to Emotional IQ (or "EQ" as it's called), Casey is kind of a genius. He is truly amazing. And, in the end, that's what we want for our kids-- that they are comfortable in their own skin, capable of getting along in the world, and genuinely happy. Maybe some of this is parenting. But in Casey's case, I can't help but feel like I really hit the jackpot.
Here are some photos of how he celebrated his big day:
The night before his birthday, I baked mini chocolate muffins -- his favorite (the chocolate part, not the mini part)-- to share with his class. He later told me that they all sang him "Happy Birthday," and he even got to, literally, take a bow.
Before school, we let Casey open presents from his Godmother, his cousins, and from his grandparents. The globe, which he's been asking for now for a few months, was a big hit. (Yes, the other presents are wrapped in Christmas paper-- but paper is paper, and it all gets torn up anyway. This gift, if you must know, was wrapped in Hanukkah paper.)
After school, we met up with Casey's San Diego cousins (and their parents) and his Aunty Tiffy at Red Robin for dinner (Casey's favorite). This is before dinner. From left to right: Calliope, Jason, Casey, Joey and Uncle Bryan. Ethan and Casey's aunts must've been behind me.
Ok. So this isn't Casey. It's Ethan, his 2 1/2 year old cousin. But I couldn't resist putting it in here because Ethan is just so darn cute, and I knew how much my mom would love the photo. . .