The picture I wanted / by Susie Lubell

Birthday Boy

This is the picture I wanted. Well not exactly but pretty close. I wanted a picture of my little boy with his crown of flowers, next to his cake, with his one candle, surrounded by adoring friends and family with their mouths in various states of half open singing Happy Birthday to him. I wouldn't have minded a smile too. But this picture is close enough. And it almost didn't happen.

I hit a low point last week right around the baby's birthday. On the actual day of his birthday we didn't really do anything. By the time Mr. Rosen came home from work (which was pretty early actually) and made the cake with the big kids, it was already nearing bed time and darkness. I hadn't had time to make his crown. We barely put up some construction paper garlands. And it was just us. No other family or friends. Entirely my fault. It was midweek and everyone was busy and anyway we thought of having family over on the weekend so I just let it go. Then on the weekend the plans got miscommunicated and suddenly there was no party. Not even family. And I started feeling very sad to be far away from my family knowing that had we still been in California I would have just gone to Michael's, picked out some streamers and napkins and whatever, some cake decorations and made him a little party with our closest friends and cousins and everyone would have found a way to come.

Mr. Rosen felt partially responsible for having downplayed the importance of this event. Indeed I downplayed it myself. But I was secretly wishing the party would plan itself because I have really reached the upper limit on sleep deprivation and plus there's no Michael's here so I don't know where to buy party supplies.  So Mr. Rosen made some calls and in fact a few of our closest friends planned to drop everything and come.

Except they didn't come because the next day Mr. Rosen contracted some nasty stomach bug and spent most of the day throwing up. So I cancelled the party. But the baby's aunt and uncle still popped over with some treats including the blackberries from their garden which I used to decorate his cake. The kids had all spent the night at their grandparents so I actually slept eight hours and finally had the time and brain functioning to make his crown out of the bougainvillea in our yard.

So in the late afternoon Mr. Rosen's parents arrived with the kids and we celebrated our little boy's first birthday feeling grateful for all of the people in our lives and everything they have done and continue to do to make us feel at home here.

And I got the pictures I wanted.

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