Three of our four kids have their birthdays in the last two weeks of November, right around Thanksgiving, and it makes for a crazy month.
Birthdays are a pretty big deal to me. I guess it's because they were a big deal growing up, with quirky traditions like sitting on a balloon at breakfast and incessantly asking the birthday celebrant, "What do you think it is, your birthday?"
And so I have made birthdays a big deal for my kids. We plan themed parties and I cook whatever meal they request. On Birthday Eve I decorate their chair at the table, complete with a balloon taped to their seat for them to pop. I like to be up and ready with a camera when they first wake up, and if possible, I like David to be there, too. We, after all, were there when our kids first entered the world, and I like us to be the first to greet them on their birthday morning.
But sometimes I can be a tad oversentimental and hang on to traditions a little too tightly. When David told me he needed to fly early on the morning of Zoe's birthday, which was a Saturday and not a normal flight day, I would like to tell you that I, after pausing to think to myself, 'it's only a few hours of the day,' said, "Sure, babe, no problem!"
Sadly, this was a case of missionary-pilot-wife-good-attitude-FAIL. Inwardly I grumbled, and grudgingly acknowledged that David needed to do this flight. For two days, he had tried unsuccessfully to get into the village of Kiwi with the family of Jack and Corky, a missionary couple who were preparing to retire after 40 years of service. Their adult daughter and her kids were coming out for the celebration, but weather and sickness delayed the flights in to Kiwi.
Zoe's 7th birthday dawned clear and beautiful, and as I carried out my silly birthday traditions alone with Zoe and the other kids, David took off for another try at Kiwi. And inwardly, I was still grumbling.
Mid-morning David returned, downright emotional after witnessing the reception Jack and Corky's daughter and family received at the airstrip. Men in gourds and ladies in grass skirts danced around the plane, celebrating their arrival. The daughter had not been back to Kiwi since she was a teen, and it was a tearful reunion for her and the villagers.
And what a great photo opportunity he got! I picked the most G-rated photo of the gourd men that he took. As David says, these men are not lacking in self-confidence.
David said Jack and Corky told him that without MAF, their forty years in Kiwi would not have been possible. Well, now, that just makes missing a few hours of a Saturday morning bearable!!
And now, for the Birthday Celebrants:
Zoe, age 7. Flower party. Don't let the bows and flowers and panda bears fool you. This child is feisty!
Luke, age 9. Angry Birds party. Lego master. Aspiring geologist.