Walker's birthday party is today, part of a series of celebrations with unexpected gifts and his requested Taco Bell dinner on his real birthday.
My children place great emphasis on birthdays, although as they've gotten older, I've trended away from trying to find the perfect gift and focused more on getting exactly what they asked for. This has met with mixed results. For one child, having more stuff she doesn't need or want is a burden. Another wants me to keep on trying to find something that delights and/or surprises her. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't quite manage it. It seems a shame in this economy to buy more stuff that may or may not be appreciated. Often I end up giving cash equivalents. Sometimes my gifts are late...sometimes very late. That's mostly when they can't decide what they want though. I'm thinking that one of the girls never did get her Christmas present last year. I need to fix that before it's time to do it all again.
Walker has outgrown pitching a fit if he gets clothes for gifts after getting in serious trouble for announcing to his sister that her gift of a sweat shirt, or maybe it was a sweater, just wouldn't do. His mind has opened to exploring the gifts he gets. He, like his sisters, usually presents most of us with a very specific request. For Walker it's usually some obscure collectible that is difficult to locate even on E-Bay. My sister sent a real goodie box yesterday and we all had fun unpacking all the Coca Cola gear she had put together for Walker. There was even a Coca Cola Olympics pin, a true collectible, and a nice check to boot. That was the perfect combination of thoughtful and pragmatic for Walker.
Tonight's party will be a simple one. Swimming, if it isn't raining, music on the porch if it is, Pizza, and a Scooby-Doo birthday cake with those little cups of ice cream. He will be glad to see old friends and celebrate in style. Perhaps he'll bring his new keyboard down and entertain.
Walker spotted a billboard for the Hollywood Casino, in Tunica, just before his twenty second birthday. His enamourment with the film industry was already well established. "I want to go there," he commented as we drove to work. "Well, you're over twenty-one now. You can go if you want to."
"That would make all my dreams come true!"
And so it did. Family and a couple of friends met us at the casino, giving Walker rolls of coins instead of gifts. The first time he hit a small winning, his face lit up like the Chinese fireworks. "Aw RIGHT!"
I wonder what it would take to make my dreams come true. I hope I recognize it when it happens. For today, it would be knees that ache a little less, and a nice dinner that I didn't have to prepare for or clean up after. Oh, yes, and World Peace!