Thursday, April 23, 2009

Breathtaking Moments

"Life is measured not by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of breathtaking moments."
Author Unknown

Having young children automatically entitles you to an endless supply of breathtaking moments.  There are the universal "first" moments; holding your baby for the first time, witnessing that first gassy-smile, hearing them laugh for the first time, watching them take their first steps.  And then there are the breathtaking moments that are unique to you and your child.

My daughter Pip, (her 'in utero' name,) turned three at the beginning of this month.  When it came time to plan her big day, I explained that she would be having a party with our extended family a few days after her birthday, but that we could also do something special on her actual "birth-day."  I imagined Pip frolicking in the backyard with her little girlfriends, playing games, eating cake and dancing around with her spring frock blowing in the wind.   
"No, mama," Pip said, "I just want the whole day with you and Daddy and me and Crazybaby."  ('Crazybaby' is Pip's name for her one-year-old sister.)
"Hmm", my ego thought to itself, (thank you Ekhart Tolle,)  "I wonder if that will be special enough."  Nevertheless, we honoured Pip's wishes.

Because Pip's birthday arrived on Good Friday this year, her dad was home from work.  'Big Daddy-O' and I had agreed that the day would be all about Pip, and we'd let her call the shots.  We began the morning with a few gifts, a syrupy breakfast of blueberry pancakes, and a stroll to her favourite park.  Pip surprised us by riding her little two-wheeler bike all the way to park for the first time ever!  She was terribly proud of herself.  Of course the trip took us thirty minutes longer than usual, but Pip had to stop and smell every variety of flower along the way.   

Lunch consisted of bunny macaroni with peas, followed by Easter Egg decorating with Mama while Crazybaby napped.  I had bought some colored tablets to dye the eggs,  but it was difficult to distinguish the colours.  They all looked terribly dark.   I invited Pip to choose two colours.
"Where's green?"  she asked.
"I don't think there is a green, honey."
"But green is my favourite colour."
"I know it is sweetie, but I don't see a green tablet.  This orange one looks nice."  Pip reluctantly plopped the orange tablet into the container of water and vinegar.  

While we 'oohed' and 'aaaahed' at the way the orange tablet coloured the water in cotton-candy clouds, Pip spontaneously threw in another tablet.  I think I started to say something like, "Oh, not in the same container, "  but then I noticed that the water was turning green!  The most glorious emerald green that a hard-boiled egg could ever dream of becoming.  Pip looked at me with her eyes full of excitement and wonder, her mouth dropped open and she threw her arms around my neck.  Breathtaking moment number one.

Once Crazybaby woke up we headed off to Pip's favourite sandy beach for a walk in the sun.  We met a host of slick black sand-dollars enjoying a little tidal pool, and I picked one up for Pip so that she could see the tentacles on the underbelly and the flower pattern on the top.  As we stood up from looking at our treasures, I spotted two horses (with riders) galloping toward us.  Now, this was the first time Pip had ever seen real horses in action and these were truly magnificent animals.  The sun was shining, the waves were breaking, the horses hooves were kicking up sand, and our little Birthday Girl was just taking it all in.  Moment number two.

On our way home from the beach we picked up dinner: pizza and a little carrot-cake.  (As promised, Pip called the shots!)  After dinner I put three little green frog-candles in the cake and told Pip about the whole 'birthday wish' concept.  "I think I'll wish for a green birthday cake," she said.  Fair enough.  I lit the candles and took the cake over to Pip while Big Daddy-O and I sang 'Happy Birthday.'    When we finished singing, Pip closed her eyes tight and whispered to herself, "I wish my ponies would come alive."  There it was.  The mother of all breath-taking moments that day.

How cool to be three years old and believe in the magic of wishes.  How wise of our little Pip to just let her day "be."  And how lucky we are to be along for the ride.