On February 18th my baby, Caleb, turned 15. Every year, for their birthday, each one of our kids are treated to a birthday dinner of their choice. For years, Caleb’s dinner of choice was biscuits and gravy, but this year he decided to changes things up a bit. Instead of the usual, he requested fried chicken strips, cheesy potatoes, green beans, sour cream rolls, buttermilk pound cake and of course sweet tea. Because his actual birthday was full, we decided to celebrate the Friday after.
My Friday morning started with a jolt. When I woke up, I realized that the house was silent. Everyone was gone. Somehow, everyone got ready for school and left the house without me waking up. I panicked because my day didn’t start as early as I wanted. With a full day of cooking and errands ahead, I needed every bit of daylight I could grab. I shot out of bed and checked the clock. It was already 7:45! I quickly gulped down a cup of energy and headed for the kitchen.
First I made the butter milk pound cake and got it into the oven. While it baked and filled the house with a mouth-watering aroma, I made enough cheesy potatoes for five hungry boys to eat till their heart content. Nothing makes me happier than seeing hungry boys eat 😉 Once the potatoes were finished, I sliced the chicken breasts and covered them in buttermilk to soak until later in the afternoon. Then I made the green beans, sour cream rolls and sweet tea.
After the kitchen work was under control, I made a quick run through of the back part of the house where the kids “stay”, hoping to find it in some resemblance of order.
Let me just pause right her to rant for just a second.
OH MY WORD!! Now I know why I don’t like to go back there. Let me just say, NOTHING was in order or clean or tidy or neat or even sorta kinda what I expect a house to look like. How do they live like that? It looked like a crack house back there. I know I shouldn’t be telling the world how messy my kids are but surly I’m not the only mother who has teen agers that live in squalor, like a bunch of escaped convicts on the run! Please tell me in not alone.
After the shock wore off, I began to clean the bathroom, bedrooms and hallway. I then vacuumed the house, did a load of laundry, answered some e-mails, returned phone calls, texted parents with the details of the party, fed the chickens and gathered the eggs. By 11:30, everything on my list was done except getting myself ready.
I ran to the bathroom, washed my hair, put on my face, dried my hair, tried on three different outfits, gathered all my stuff and was out the door by 12:30, just in time to go pick up Cassady from school and get her to an appointment by 1:45. Once the appointment was over, it was time to pick up Michael, Cassady’s boyfriend, and head back to Verdigris so I could prepare dinner.
After the chicken was fried, the potatoes were cooked, the rolls were baked and the table set, it was finally time to sit down and celebrate Caleb. They ate, laughed, picked at each other, told stories and laughed some more. After their tummies were full, off they were to play an hour of video games.
At 8:30 we all piled into two cars and made our way to Sky Zone Tulsa for a night of jumping fun. I had previously purchased everyone’s tickets and reserved our spot, so once they made it to the venue, all they had to do was get their sticker and mandatory orange socks. After we gathered everyone’s phone and personal belongings to hold for safe keeping, the kids were off for some jumping fun.
Devin and I found a place at one of the little round tables reserved for the non-jumpers. We sat for a minute in order to catch our breath and assess our surroundings, then I decided to go up on the observation deck to watch the birthday crew jump. When I made it to the top of the steps, the kids had only been jumping for about five minutes. As I rounded the corner, the first thing I saw was Cassady, sitting in the middle of a hundred jumping kids, holding her leg and crying. I could not believe what I was seeing. We had not even been there fifteen minutes and we already had an injury, of course it was one of mine. Immediately, my eyes locked with hers, with a one eyebrow raised and a stern look on my face I mouthed, “get up!”. I thought maybe a little tough love would motivate her to get up, shake it off and get back to having fun. After my stern command, she promptly looked at me and mouthed, “I can’t!” When Devin noticed that something was wrong, he joined me at the steps of the deck and said, “what’s wrong?” “Cassady is hurt”, I said. With a look of disbelief he replied, “well good Lord, already?” As she sat there crying on the other side of the room our eyes met once again, and once again I tried to strong-arm her into getting up. But if you know anything about Cassady, you know she’s not easily strong armed. I said again, “get up, you’re fine!” Through tears and lots of anger, she informed me she was not fine and she couldn’t walk. Finally, one of the boys extended his hand and helped her to her feet. She hopped and hobbled her way to me, sat down on the steps and cried. Before I had a chance to look at her foot or ask any questions, Devin said, “oh boy, look at that foot!” When I saw it, I then realized why she couldn’t get up and shake it off. It was already swollen twice it’s size and sported two huge knots that made me sick to my stomach.
We both grabbed an arm and helped her to a chair while a Sky Zone employee took down our information and got her some ice. Everyone that saw her foot, assumed by the looks of it, she had broken it. She was mad at the world and everyone in it. Her fun for the night was over and her upcoming soccer season was at stake. For the next two hours we sat with her while the boys played hard. They jumped, flipped, played basket ball and dodge ball until they couldn’t jump any more.
At 11:30 PM the fun was over. We loaded up the boys and took them to meet their parents. By the time my car hit the driveway, it was 12:30. I got out, helped Cassady to her bed and gave her something for pain. Once she was tucked in, I drug my poor exhausted body to the living room and collapsed in Papa bears chair. I was exhausted, physically and mentally, and still had a party mess to clean up. As I sat there in the dark, dreading the work ahead of me, I looked up and saw Caleb. He slowly walked over to where I was sitting and gently crawled up in my lap. He sat there for a second and said, “thank you so much mom for my birthday. I really, really appreciate it. I had so much fun. And thank you for the dinner too. It was delicious. Thank you for everything you do momma. I love you so much.”
At that moment, nothing else mattered. The dirty dishes, the messy house, the injured foot, my exhausted body and aching back…none of it mattered now. There I sat with my baby in my lap, just like he used to do when he was little, his long legs hanging over the arm of the chair and his voice saying, “I love you momma”. I sat quietly, with my eyes closed, enjoying every moment. Breathing him in. His words, his smell, his love. I didn’t want to lose one minute of this experience because I knew it might never happen again.
Not every day ends like this. As a matter of fact, days like this are few and far between but when they do happen, I intend to hang on to every word, and then tuck those words in my heart for safe keeping.
It was a perfect ending to a very long day. Another gentle reminder of how blessed I really am.
Update: x-rays showed that Cassady’s foot was not broken after all, just a nasty sprain.
Thanks for reading!