I will often greet my kids with a “How is my favorite third grader today?”
Or a “How is my favorite eight and under swimmer?”
On the kids’ birthdays, when I wake them up in the morning or when they come downstairs I say, “How is my favorite [however many]-year-old?”
Of course they love that because kids love being another year older, and they love hearing that new and improved number.
Since it was Number 4’s birthday yesterday, I let her sleep until the last minute and then woke her up and greeted her with the customary greeting.
How is my favorite twelve-year-old today?
A big smile spread across her face as she sleepily answered, GREAT.
Today it’s my birthday.
The day after Number 4’s birthday.
We never found out the gender of any of the kids before they were born, but I knew Number 4 was a girl.
Because I felt her coming.
Her due date wasn’t until October, but I could tell she was going to try to steal my birthday. Because that’s the kind of shady thing girls do.
But luckily my water broke early, and I pushed her butt right out with about two and a half hours to spare.
My birthday was preserved.
So Number 4 and I have birthdays that are super close to each other, and I think Number 4 feels kind of a special connection with me (aside from the regular mom connection we all have with our daughters) because of it.
Number 4 also has a memory like a steel trap, and she never forgets anything. She is totally prepared for motherhood in that department because she always remembers everyone’s birthdays.
She is the keeper of the things.
This morning I was awake at my usual 4 a.m.
My husband left for work around 6.
No Happy Birthday wish from him.
Number 3 got up around 6:40 and got dressed and ate breakfast and headed out to the bus.
No Happy Birthday Mom! wish from him.
Number 6 was up next at 6:55.
No Happy Birthday Mom! wish from him, either.
Next Number 5 woke up. She’s a girl. She’d remember.
She complained about how hungry she was and then started arguing with Number 6.
Number 7 came downstairs a few minutes later.
No Happy Birthday Mom! wish from her!
WHAT THE HECK?!?!?!
Everyone knows my birthday is right after Number 4’s. It’s not like it’s a birthday off all by itself in the middle of March when none of us have any birthdays even remotely close to it.
I was 0 for 5 so far.
I wasn’t really surprised. I mean, nobody really cares about Mom’s birthday.
But even if it’s my 49th birthday — YES, MY FORTY-NINTH BIRTHDAY!!! — I still want at least someone in my family to remember. I mean, there are enough of them that the odds should be in my favor. Right???
It was now down to Number 4 to avoid a Sixteen Candles Samantha Baker complete and total birthday fail.
She was was my only hope. My Obi-Wan Kenobi.
She was still asleep, so I went up to her room and woke her up.
“Good Moooorning!” I whispered.
It took her a couple seconds to wake up and come to her senses.
And she smiled at me and looked up and said,
HOW’S MY FAVORITE 49-YEAR-OLD TODAY?
Oh, Number 4.
It became crystal clear to me this morning which kid is gonna be the one to take care of me when I’m old and in my final days.
She didn’t forget me.
And that was pretty much it for my 49th birthday from my family.
Until I got this text from my parents.
Because even when you are forty-nine, your parents still remember to let you know you are special.
And that’s all any of us really want.