Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Birthday Festival

Grandkid birthdays are sprinkled through my calendar year like confetti. Those falling in February, March, October, and November transform ordinary days into parties that I revel in right along with the honoree.

But when the other two birthdays fall only five days apart during the last week of June, those call for a festival. We have barely licked up the last crumb of Zoomie's cake when a whole new one pops out of the oven for Sooby.

Turning nine years old today, Sooby celebrates a milestone. She begins the last year she will write her age with a single digit. She stands poised between the relative ease of the primary grades and the more rigorous expectations that come with fourth grade.

As the first grandchild, Sooby is something of a milestone herself. She was the first one to call me "Googie," and she started the avalanche of delight that became six grandchildren born in six years. Together, they have equipped my early retirement years with diapers, booster seats, sippy cups, extra toothbrushes, Legos, coloring books, Barbies--and the list goes on.

I won't get to see Sooby today, but I got to spend this past weekend with her, Zoomie, and their other siblings as their mama rehearsed and sang in concert with a professional choral group. Zoomie's birthday fell during our trip, calling for presents, a visit to Cici's Pizza, and a Funfetti birthday cake served in our hotel room.

While Mama rehearsed, the five of us kids did McDonald's twice, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt once, a hands-on science center for kids, Finding Dory, and a nice park complete with ducks, geese, and fish. The weekend had all the characteristics of any self-respecting birthday festival. Because of it, I think we will always remember the year Zoomie turned four and Sooby turned nine.

Happy Birthday today, sweet girl. I hope you like the new Spirograph from Pa-pa and me. I know you won't always be as carefree as you look atop this carousel pony at the state fair last summer, but I wish you the happiest of days today, and I can't wait for the phone call that will tell me all about it.

It was great being with you the day you reached the four-year mark, little guy. I love this picture of you blowing bubbles so seriously and intently on Mother's Day. Guard that giant jar of gourmet jelly beans Mama got you for your birthday, and don't forget to share some with your brother and sisters. Maybe you will still have some left next time I come to visit.

Every birthday I get to spend with a grandkid is a treasure to cherish. I reflect on weekends like this one just past and realize once more that I am rich indeed.