In our family, Mr. Groundhog has to take a back seat on Feb. 2. He may get all the attention in other parts of the country, but around here all eyes are on Pooh.
Our focus is not on worrying whether or not some rodent in Pennsylvania has seen his shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter weather; instead, we have a birthday to celebrate, and two days ago, quite unbelievably for his Googie, Pooh turned eight.
This year, Pooh donned a black top hat and set out to perform some magic tricks.
"What kind of candy is your favorite," he asked as he grabbed a cup and a magic wand.
"Chocolate," I said, preparing myself to play along. I expected that he would pretend to make a piece of chocolate "appear before my very eyes." As it turns out, no pretending was necessary. To my surprise, after a few flamboyant maneuvers and some carefully chosen magic words, Pooh did actually pull a miniature candy bar from the cup.
"How'd you do that," I asked, but no decent magician gives away his secrets. So I was left to speculate that the cup contained several popular candies, and this time our magician was lucky enough that I happened to ask for one of them.
After all, who in her right mind would have wanted anything BUT chocolate? Next time, I will make the trick a little more challenging by asking for sugar-coated orange slices. That'll show him.
As the afternoon spun away into evening, Pooh entertained Pa-pa and me with a piano solo (which also sounded magical) and a demonstration of the new remote control race car we took him for a present. Eight times now, we have been privileged to share a birthday with this sweet, special, quirky kid.
Looking back, I see that a piece of chocolate is nothing compared to this boy's best magical accomplishment. Yes, somehow he was able to transform himself into his present shape and form from this:
Here is Pooh seven years ago as he waits to plunge his face into a chocolate birthday cake. Coincidentally, the photographer (yours truly) caught him with his little forefinger raised, as if to say, "Yeah, I'm one now, and I know I'm devastatingly cute."
Seven years have flown by in a heartbeat, it seems, but thanks to this guy, his siblings, and his cousins, they have been a wonderful, crazy whirlwind of diapers and sippy cups and make-believe and storybooks. They have been blessings beyond what I ever expected.
Happy Birthday, Pooh. I hope your party with the "guys" went well today. I hear that old groundhog did see his shadow, but I don't mind. You are just the spot of sunshine I need to warm up the coldest of winter days.
The best part is that you're not yet too big to sit on my lap and snuggle. That keeps me warm, and that is the best kind of magical.