This weekend birthday party season officially started for Alec, since most of his friends have birthdays from now until May. Alec was at home all last week since he was still coughing a lot and feeling pretty tired, but of course he was not going miss the two parties he was invited to this weekend.
I went with him to the first party on Friday evening. Alec got dressed up and was concerned about his hair getting messed up under his hat on the way there. Super cute. He didn’t want cake (crepes cake) but he ate four oreo cookies and tons of popcorn. Just before we went home at 6.30 in the evening, Alec got his candy bag and immediately made me super proud. On his own, he said “I’ll just eat one candy now and then save the rest for next Saturday.” When we came home in the evening, he showed Louis the sweets and then we put them away, up on the book shelf in the living room. Even though the candy bag was in plain view, he didn’t ask about them or mention it or anything until Saturday evening when he gave one piece to Louis and had a piece himself.
On Friday evening Léonie came down with a really high fever and she was really miserable all of that night and the day after. Which is the only reason I can think of for me dropping the ball completely on Saturday.
Saturday was C’s party and Alec was so charged up for it. It was going to be the same very successful set-up that C had last year, with hot dogs grilled outside at a 4H farm and then cake and everything inside. Alec was so so excited. Several days before he spent a good hour making a bookmark to go with the book he was giving C for his birthday. Sumit took Alec to this party and brought Louis along as well.
But when they arrived, the party was wrapping up and everyone was going home. I had got the time wrong somehow. The next few parties are all from 2-4 in the afternoon, and I didn’t double-check this one properly. Sumit texted me and my heart just fell. I felt like the worst mum in the world. I know this is not a big deal in the big scheme of things. I know that the times I snap at the children and lose my temper are actually so much worse – and they happen so much more often. But this made me feel so crappy.
I was really worried about how Alec would take it but Sumit said he was ok and then took him and Louis to a café by the water and they had some treats in the sun and played a little before coming home. When Alec came home later that afternoon he told me they had missed the party and I told him it was my fault and apologized. He just said it was ok. Even though I know how excited he was for this party.
Then this morning when I dropped Alec off at pre-school, his friends were all there asking him about Saturday. “You missed the party” they said. And Alec replied “Yes, but I got to give C his present”. “But you didn’t get any candy” they said. “That’s ok” said Alec, “I went to a party on Friday so I have my candy from there.” “But you didn’t have any cake” they said. “But my dad took us out for a treat, so it’s ok” said Alec.
And it just hit me how much better a person he is than I am.
Alec is the one we expect so much of all the time. Too much. He’s the eldest, but he’s only five years old. And too often, we are too hard on him. It’s something we are trying to keep in mind every day.
And today he made me so incredibly proud. I felt like the crappiest mum for messing up so Alec missed the party, but the experience also made me properly see my first baby Alec and just what an amazing kid he is.
When people talk about how humbling parenting is, I don’t think this is what they mean. But for me, this is it.