Today is awesome, my very first birthday party. Ever. Just for me, my very own. Neato. And I'm wearing my favorite play clothes, Spiderman. He's my hero. I even saw the movie twice. It was cool.
"Too much violence," mom said. Well, I know something about that.
Outside the snow looks like feathers falling from a giant pillow, big time falling. Fat flakes are coming from all over. Cars are getting stuck up and down beside where I live. Please, nobody get hurt.
Mom says I'm like the moon at night. I watch everything around me. She invited some neighbor kids to come with us to MacDonald's. Mom wants me to have my birthday with lots of friends. I don't have any since we only moved here last week.
The kids downstairs are cheering and making a horrible racket. I have to get back to the party. I don't like it when there's too much noise. We're wearing party hats and trying to bust balloons. Mine is a red one. But yellow's my favorite color, like the sunshine.
"You need to smile more," mom keeps nagging. That's why I want to be like the sun. I know it helps people smile. Like I want to. Rain makes people grumpy. I want people to be happy.
When we get back from MacDonald's mom shows me off to her adult friends. I think mom wanted some adults around because they help her a lot. Sort of cheering her up when she gets sad. Like I do, sometimes.
They even brought their kids.
This morning mom asked, "Bryan, do you mind if some of my friends come to your birthday party?" I like it when she asks my opinion. She treats me like somebody special. "It's okay," I remember saying.
Mom is a single parent because she had to leave dad. I hope we don't have to keep moving around. I keep looking out the window where snow piles up around the fire hydrant. Now it looks like a bloody finger sticking out of the snow. I remember I cut my finger once. It was sure messy.
Everyone at my party is talking at once. But I'm still having fun. I got a box of Crayolas. And some Color 'n Stamp Space Adventures. Washable too. Got some socks too.
"Neat," I say. "Thank you, thank you," keeps popping out of my mouth.
Mom says I'm a polite boy. I hope she'll say that when I'm really big.
After I open my gifts a stack of wrapping paper and ribbon is all over.
Boxes too. Today is the best day of my life. I might even decide to stay eight years old forever.
"It's your special day, Bryan. So don't worry about the mess," mom says. I look at her and she sends me back a nice smile. She's strict sometimes. Not today though, because she wanted me to have this birthday party.
Everyone likes my new haircut. Now I can see my ears in the mirror. I wanted new running shoes. No luck though.
Balloons are bouncing on the floor. Some are on the table. Some are stuck to the ceiling. We start bopping them around. Some get busted. What a blast. My favorite T-Shirt got ice cream spilled on it.
One of mom's friends brought her little girl to my party. And she's playing with my Silly Putty. That's OK. I feel too happy to complain. Maybe later I will. I have to go upstairs to my room to get some other toys for her.
From my bedroom on the third floor, I can see the whole world. There's my sliding hill at the back. I might get in trouble in the summer when I get grass stains. I pretend the grass is covered in white paint, not snow.
Standing here makes me think about things. My dad used to hit mom, at the other place. Sometimes he threw me around too. When he did that, he became a bogeyman. Each night when he came, he scared me lots.
It got better after we moved here. Now, I don't cry so much. But I shut my eyes really tight when I think about what used to happen. It still feels better when I hide under the covers. And when mom cuddles me, it's nice and warm.
My party was fun, but now I'm tired. Before I fall asleep mom gives me eight birthday hugs. Then I tell her I love her.
* * *
Richard & Esther Provencher 2007
My wife, Esther and I really enjoy writing. It is an excellent salve, in addition to prayers, a great wife and family during my continuing recovery from a stroke/aneurysm. You can contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org re comments on our work. We live in Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada. Pray for others.