Paige quickly packed an overnight bag for a special Paige-only birthday sleepover with Grandma Ru and Grandpa Terry. I buckled her into Grandpa's car and laughed out loud as I watched her vigorously wave and smile from the back seat of the car. She looked like she just might burst with excitement.
Saturday was a Stilpstaber day. Bucky and Curt took seven of our eight kids and our two dogs up to Mt. Hood to play in the snow. They picked Paige up from Grandpa and Grandma’s on the way, found an isolated campground, built a fire and played in the snow all day. Britta and I were left with the daunting task of caring for baby George. We survived by going shopping, lingering over a quiet lunch, and snuggling into plush couches, coffee in hand, to chat and catch up. It was a difficult job but someone had to do it.
The kids, dads and dogs arrived home rosy-cheeked, exhausted and full of stories. As we were beginning the bedtime process, our entire family made a big deal of telling Paige this was the last night she would ever be four. She got all giddy, held up her hand with all five fingers stretched out and said, "I can't believe I'm finally old enough to be one whole hand!"
Paige’s birthday request was not gift related. She only wanted to be celebrated and didn’t care what she got for a gift. It opened a window for us to brainwash her to ask for things she needed like a Bible, a bike and a beach towel. Doesn’t every five-year-old want a Bible for their birthday? As the brainwashing set in, she requested a “churtoise” (which we interpreted to mean turquoise) bike and a beach towel with her name on it from the Pottery Barn Kids catalog. Her obvious delight at receiving this stuff made it worth the effort to track down a turquoise kid’s bike in the heart of winter.
She chose strawberry pancakes with bacon for breakfast and requested that we go out to eat at Red Robin for dinner because “you get to keep the cups and they sing to you, give you balloons and ice cream.” We have a brand-new stash of Red Robin cups to use at bedtime and Paige loved all the attention she got from the staff who sang to her.
We capped her day off with a wonderful evening at church. She got presents from two of her favorite people, told everyone it was her birthday then demonstrated how old she was by holding up “one whole hand,” and even got sung to by the kids in her Sunday school classroom. What more could a kid want? Oh, besides birthday cake at 9 p.m. on a school night AND another birthday celebration this week at pre-school.
Over the years Paige has watched each of her siblings celebrate their birthday at school. She watched in wide-eyed wonder when Alli celebrated her fifth birthday at pre-school and has been talking about how she can’t wait until it’s her turn to do the same thing. Today was her day of glory. She brought juice boxes and cookies to share with her class at school, got to decorate a birthday crown, choose a present from the treasure box, be the line leader, share a favorite toy during sharing time, and be the first one to leave since I was a “Parent Helper” today. It was glorious!
Paige went to the doctor for her well-child check and in one year she grew FIVE inches and three shoe sizes. I’m pretty sure she grew at least five inches of hair this year too. She also grew a little bit kinder, a little more helpful, and a lot more independent and feisty. It has been so fun to be part of the audience cheering her out of toddlerhood and into being an authentic big girl. Happy birthday sweet Paige. I can’t believe you’re already one whole hand.