A few weeks ago Lauren had a birthday.
Birthdays these days seem to go against all logic: How did this happen? What the hell? What??? Wait, how old?? Noooo!
As the day approached, Lauren asked me to take Eric shopping for a gift for her.
Unfortunately, taking our children to get something nice for our birthdays is not a super high priority for our either of our exes. Since we learn how to celebrate other people by example, I was more than happy to take Eric, and Duncan as well.
The day before Lauren’s birthday the boys and I set out to do a little shopping. Eric had pretty specific ideas about what his mom would like, which impressed me. He’d looked online with Lauren and she steered me a little toward that. He told me: she’d wear a ring, more than a bracelet.
I looked at a black pantsuit that was cool but where to wear it? Was it fun? Not fun enough, I decided. Duncan hung out while I went through the whole store. We wandered.
At the stationary store we picked out cards, and Eric zeroed in on the perfect gift: a giant donut pillow printed with multi colored sprinkles- chocolate frosting on one side and strawberry on the other. He loved it. And he was sure his mom would love it too.
Duncan found something he loved too: A baby sloth stuffed animal. Baby sloths are possibly the cutest things ever, it’s true. And oh, that child loves the baby animals. I was crazy for them when I was a kid too, I get it. But I we were shopping for Lauren at the moment, so I said no, not now.
And the tears started. He cried for about half an hour, walking from store to store, crying. I would stop and hug him and we’d talk and he’d keep crying. He was vibrating. He tried to make me promise to buy him a little stuffed animal tomorrow or as soon as I saw one.
Finally in the midst of all that I found a dress I thought Lauren would look so pretty in, a dark tropical print with bell sleeves and embroidery up the front.
I was getting tired of the crying, and our shopping was done, so we went to dinner and everyone perked up over milkshakes and giant fancy burgers.
<giant burgers and shakes and fries - bacon and eggs and onion rings and etc. plus Garlic curly fries. in the drawing>
The next day was Lauren’s birthday. She went to work, and the boys didn’t have school so we were going to the beach. We got up and I helped the boys wrap presents and decorate cards. I was delighted that the kids drew pictures inside and wrote sweet notes and made the cards special. Duncan picked out a card with a cat on it because he and Lauren love to watch cat videos together. Party cat!
We finally made it to the beach in Santa Monica around noon. The surf conditions were a little crazy and the boys were all into it, diving under the waves and letting themselves get tossed around in the surf. Eric likes doing the Dead Man’s Float in the shorebreak, drifting and limp in the waves. Duncan keeps yelling “Let’s bodysurf! Come on mommy, let’s bodysurf!” I tried to keep them close, especially Duncan who is small and fearless.
The water felt great in the warm afternoon and it was heartbreaking when I had to get everyone out of the water- but it was Lauren’s birthday and we were on the other side of town, and still had to find birthday cake and dinner for our little party.
Finally we got home and had pizza and dessert sang happy birthday with Lauren then gave her her gifts and cards.
She liked the donut pillow as much as Eric thought she would. She also liked her dress and put it on. So pretty.
I told her about our shopping trip and Duncan and the baby sloth and the tears, and she said to him, “Do you know what I have in the garage? Two giant boxes of Eric’s stuffed animals. Why don’t we get them out of the garage? You could have one every day for a year if you want.”