But a birthday is only one day, and I'm most privileged to tell time these days through my kids.
Being a city mama and all, I could be doing more to take full advantage of living in Chicago. My weekends are spent mostly doing piles of laundry, going grocery shopping and getting ready for the week ahead. So this Sunday, after Jossie was down for her nap and Jeremy was tucked away with his NFL, Jack and I headed out into the fall sunshine to catch the bus to Navy Pier.
Navy Pier is a tourist trap on steroids. Its carnival-like atmosphere is full of kitschy mall stores, overpriced junk food and amusement park rides. We typically make a beeline to the Chicago Children's Museum, and on this day, Jack and I took advantage of every Halloween-themed activity there, including decorating pumpkins and making a superhero cape. Mommy was into making the cape way more than Jack, who was perfectly content cutting up string into itty-bitty pieces. I, on the other hand, had my head down in concentration, tracing the cape pattern on scraps of fabric, cutting it out with too-blunt scissors and decorating it with knick-knacks, wielding the hot glue gun. Periodically, I would invite Jack's feedback so the other parents would stop shooting me dirty looks for basically doing this project all on my own. He would look up from his pile of string and safety scissors to give a nod of approval.
Not bad, eh?
After the museum, we went in search of Thomas the Tank Engine for a train ride. As Jack was buckled into his train seat, me, ever the emotional wreck, nearly cried at the sight. I flashed back to this moment more than two years ago.
And now here we were, my Jack, so tall with his cape across his lanky shoulders. Still a baby at almost-4-years-old in so many ways and growing up so fast at the same time. This is the boy who fell down a few stairs at preschool the other day, and when I made a big fuss over him, he looked me squarely in the eyes and said, "Stop asking me, Mommy, if I'm okay. I'm fine."
Yes, Jack, but am I?
Luckily, Jossie girl is still my baby love, and I'm enjoying every minute of her babyhood, even the teething and sleepless nights. Here she is with half of a pumpkin pancake stuck to her face, taken by Jack.