It is the eve of her 11th birthday, and it is hellaciously hot. Right now, she is sitting in our living room--our only air-conditioned downstairs room--playing Clue with three of her friends, two of whom we hung out with during our weekly Music-in-the-Park Sunday, the third of whom we ran into there with her family. Because we don't do birthday parties for her any more--long story, not now, suffice to say it was/is her choice--we were able to bring all three girls home with us for an impromptu slumber party.
She has come in to me no fewer than three times since we got home to hug me, and thank me for doing this for her.
I've done nothing, mind you, other than say "sure, they can come over." I've done literally nothing. No invitations, no party games, no cake (though, hey, I did bring cupcakes to the park...though Em, at her request, baked and frosted them, so I probably shouldn't use them to brag about my Mother of the Year qualifications).
Tomorrow night, we'll have the neighborhood kids over for some ice-cream cake after an early family dinner at Tony Roma's. Em's been looking forward to this for weeks. I took her and her friend C to see a movie on Friday; I'll take her and her friend J to play laser tag for a while some time later this week. It's nothing; there are 'regular' weeks that are busier, or more fun. And yet.
And yet, here's what I can tell you about it all: If you ask her, Em will tell you that this was the best birthday ever. And she'll mean it.
God, I love that kid. And not just because she's easy to please. But because she's happy, period. She's a generally happy kid, and it takes very little to make her that way.
I have so much to learn from her.
(Happy birthday, baby.)