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Not Bad Parents, 5 Years and Counting

Jonas's 5th birthday

When you have a baby, everyone tells you to enjoy every little moment because it goes by so fast. (EVERYONE. Strangers in the grocery store will tell you.) Glennon’s response is more realistic. But people mean well when they tell you this.

Sometimes it does go by fast, and sometimes it passes more slowly, for better or worse. Gretchen also has it right when she says, "The days are long, but the years are short."

And it’s true. Today my boy turns 5. That’s huge. (Anybody remember when Rudy turned 5? “Yay, five!”)

He’s big enough now to have opinions, so a few weeks ago his dad and I asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday. Every year we have kept it simple with a meal of his favorite foods, shared with family. When we asked the question last year, he said he wanted spaghetti at home. When pressed with, “What else?” he replied “Watermelon. And cucumbers.” Easy.

This year when we asked, he spoke happily about his Paw Patrol cake from last year and said that he would like a Spiderman cake this year. Followed by “The Flash next birthday and Batman the one after that.” He’s a planner.

So we arranged a brunch at a diner with family and planned on a Spiderman cake. All was well and good until Friday (as in three days ago) when he went to the dentist.

Bear with me. It comes back around. It always comes back around.

The dentist let him pick a prize at the end of his visit and he chose a pencil. When we got home, he asked if I would sharpen his pencil, so I did. Then he said he wanted to write a note, so I gave him paper.

“I’m going to write my best friend Cole to invite him to my Spiderman party.”

I panicked while he etched:

S P I D E R

C O L E M A

N P A R T Y

Because, you know, he wrote Cole’s name first then had to fit the rest around it.

Then he asked for an envelope.

Then a stamp.

So I addressed the envelope, because what else was I going to do?

And dang if he didn’t run right out to the mailbox, slide his letter in, and put the flag up.

He’s too smart, that one.

I immediately called Cole's mom (who we now live more than an hour away from) and explained that she would be receiving mail for Cole from Jonas that said something about a party but didn't give any details because there are no details because there is no party. Then I said I'd call her back.

I called Jonas's dad and said, “We have a situation!” I filled him in and he agreed it was important we remedy our lack of party.

I got online with Chuck E Cheese and made arrangements for less than 48 hours later, then called Cole's mom back to say there now was a party and could she pretty please drive 40 minutes to meet us in the middle. She happily did even though they had already given Jonas a birthday present the previous week--because she's a really good friend.

Jeff ordered a cake and picked up party favors, a balloon, and Spiderman plates.

All the while we kept anxiously reassuring each other, “See? We’re not bad parents!”

That’s pretty much par in our parenting course. For 5 years now, we have done our best to not be bad parents. To raise this playful, curious, gentle, and wickedly smart soul.

The days are long, but the years are short, and 5 are gone already.

Happy birthday, little one. We’ll get started now on next year’s The Flash party.

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