Yesterday was Lincoln’s birthday. He turned two. He had no clue what was happening, he had no expectations, and he had no capacity for disappointment.
His long-suffering Dada, however was another story.
I’m not the greatest at planning ahead for birthdays…or really even remembering them. The girls’ are easy, because they’re a week apart, right before Christmas, and Sienna starts talking about it at the beginning of October. Liam’s always gets lost in summer travel and/or celebrated in Texas. Lincoln’s one birthday was celebrated in hindsight.
But this year, I remembered Linc’s birthday for weeks in advance, despite the fact that I have never once managed to remember my own anniversary. (And the fact that he shares a birthday with Bilbo and Frodo Baggins had nothing whatsoever to do with my magical memory powers.) I spent three hours on Sunday night making a birthday cake…that fell apart spectacularly when I tried to remove it from the pan. I pre-ordered gifts, which is legitimately unheard of for me,….but only the crappy one showed up in time.
Anyway, I thought was on the friggin’ ball. Cake? Check. Presents? Check. Diaper? Sh…..
But actually everything turned to shite the night before his birthday, when his cake not only fell apart at 1 am, but Charlotte had a spectacularly horrible infection that involved lots of crying and an early-morning doctor’s visit. And a 3 am wake-up. And then a 4 am wake-up — and also a 5 am wake-up.
I was not a happy dada yesterday morning. But as I wandered through Publix, irritated beyond reason because I was missing a totally important conference call, I said to myself, “Calah, you gotta embrace modernity. Forget cooking like your grandmother. Forget expressing your love for your children through hours of unappreciated kitchen slavery. Seriously, duck that hit.” (<–phrase modified for the faint of heart) “Listen up, yo. Buy a cake. From the bakery. With food coloring. And just get over it.”
I obeyed my alarmingly vehement inner selfness, but added on balloons and those weird paper blowy-things. And then I stopped at Target to overcompensate for my every failure by buying an elaborate swirly race-care ramp-thing, somewhat reminiscent of the game Mouse Trap except 100,000 times more difficult to assemble.
After I got home, as Lincoln napped and Liam and I struggled mightily to assemble the swirly race car tower of guilt, I realized two important things:
1) I still do not understand the mechanism of screwing in a screw
2) I know now that when screwing metal into plastic, tighter is emphatically NOT better
Eventually I got it:
I’m sure there’s some metaphorical lesson to be learned here, about having too tight a grip on life or trying too desperately to control an outcome or something, but there’s also a juvenile lesson to be learned:
When it comes to screwing, you just have to relax and have fun with it. Also, sometimes it’s better to let your husband do all the work.