Every now and then, I am reassured that I am doing something right as a parent. That, despite all my failings and lost tempers, I may manage to raise a decent human being. Yesterday was one of those days.
Yesterday was my favorite day of the year: my birthday. Fortunately, Robbie loves birthdays almost as much as I do. For the past two weeks, he’s been telling me it’s not Halloween anymore; it’s November and Mommy’s birthday. He tells me I need a princess cake. He and Justin went on a secret mission to The Mad Potter for my birthday present. On Sunday, they ordered a birthday cake for me (I knew because I was at the grocery store about 25 feet away). Then, Robbie cornered me in the bathroom, saying, “So, you have a birthday coming up.” It’s an incredible feeling to have someone that excited about your birthday.
Yesterday, Justin and Robbie greeted me at the garage door when I got home from school. Robbie could barely contain his excitement: “It’s your birthday, Mom! Come on! We got candles for you!” And he wasn’t kidding. They had candles. Two “3” candles (odd, since I only turned 27…) and two dozen birthday candles. Robbie led me to the table, where he put out his arm and said, “Look, Mommy! A Cinderella cake for your birthday!”
And it was. A perfect Cinderella cake, with a fairy godmother, a coach, icing pumpkins in the corners, and Cinderella herself. It was the most beautiful, perfect birthday cake I have ever had in my life (Sorry, Mom! Close runners-up: homemade Berenstein Bears cake and ballerina cake). But do you know the best part? The part that actually made me cry? Robbie picked it out because he really thought it was something I would like.
There are times when Robbie is a typical three-year-old: so involved in his own little world that he has no idea anyone else exists outside his bubble. Justin let Robbie pick any cake he wanted, and we all know that princesses aren’t much up Robbie’s alley. He has been planning his next birthday cake for months – Cars is the current favorite, although he’s open to another Spider Man cake, too. And it would have been so easy for him to get the cake that he wanted. But he didn’t. He thought about me. For maybe the first time that I can really identify, Robbie planned for someone else.
It’s easy to see – and to appreciate – in a three-year-old. But it’s also something we can all learn from. How often do we do something for others with a spin of something that will benefit ourselves? Probably more often than we should. And so, as I hope to do more often, I’m going to take the lead from Robbie and do for others what they want and need. After all, what could it hurt?