Waylon had his birthday party today and it was about perfect. We drove over to Lily and Jason's house and got in their van with them and the boys and then we went and picked up Jessie and I kept saying, "I feel like we're in a movie," maybe Little Miss Sunshine or something, some silly movie about a funny family driving somewhere on a beautiful fall day discussing who has the directional genes (not me and not Lily) and who has the athletic genes (not me and not Lily) and the grandfather sitting next to the driving daughter without the directional gene, giving her directions and the rest of us saying, "Where are we? I have no idea where we are," etc.
It just felt sweet.
We did get there and there was a bouncy house and enough pizza for four birthday parties and salad and chips and carrots and celery and hummus and all sorts of beer and sodas and juice and a whole room full of toys to play with and lots and lots of friends. And a five-month old baby who was so beautiful that I could not help myself but went right up to him and kissed him on the lips so gently that probably no breath was exchanged, that sweet little baby mouth, slick with teething juices and I felt bad after I did it because you just don't do that but I had. Done it. And I would do it again.
The mama didn't seem to mind.
And then May came with Michael and more sweetness and hugs and laughs and Togi was there and more hugs and Togi and I always get right to it and talk about The Real Things and Things That Are Important and isn't it wonderful how sometimes these things happen with some people? You don't even need fool around with the conversation at all, you just get right to it, cut to the bone, suck the marrow out and share it between you.
Oh. Wait. Togi's a vegetarian. But he would know what I meant.
The kids bounced and played with toys and Mr. Moon had a great time knocking the kids over in the bouncy house which sounds mean but no, they loved it. They would crowd up by the doorway and beg for him to do it, to knock them over to bounce and I finally said, "Honey. Stop." And he looked at me like a kid and we are all kids in our hearts, aren't we?
Waylon blew out all of his candles and there were TWO cakes- Funfetti Cake and a hummingbird cake and the hummingbird cake had the words on it, "Absolutely Not!" which is Waylon's favorite thing to say these days.
There was a mountain of presents to unwrap and Waylon manfully unwrapped them all. It was about that time when I said to Shayla, "Has anyone taken a picture of the three of you, all together?" and she sighed the sigh of a mother who is on the tail end of throwing a five-year old's birthday party and said, "Not today."
But she and Billy and Waylon sat and I took this picture, quick-quick because it's a big day. An important day.
A boy turns five. One of the sweetest, best families I've ever known. Billy and Shayla and their beautiful boy Waylon.
And then Shayla wanted a picture of the three boys who were all born right about the same time sitting on her lap, Owen, Waylon, and Eulie (the big brother of the baby I kissed) because there had been a picture of her holding all three of them when they were tiny mites. They don't fit on her lap all together any more, but here they are.
Waylon done with it and after that picture, Owen ran off and said, "No more pictures!" and how, in five short years can three tiny infants become these long-legged boys with such strong minds of their own?
Well. I do not know but it is the way of it and before we can turn around that little baby with the sweet little lips will be five himself and there's no way he'll let me kiss him.
Happy birthday, Waylon. I remember so well sitting in the hospital, knitting,
waiting for you to be born. Our family was there with your family, Owen just over a month old. And the joy of it all.
Billy holding his son right after he was born.
Lily and Owen and Waylon and his grandmama, Denise.
And I remember that night, right before Shayla was to go in for her C-section, telling Billy to get over there and let me take a picture of them. And he did.
A lot of things can change in five years but the love of this family has not faltered nor has it waned but has taken the changes as they have come and taken them with love.
There is nothing more profound than this.
When we were telling Shayla good-bye today, I said to her, "We are family."
And she nodded and said, "Yes."
Sometimes we share genes. Sometimes that's not even part of it. Still, we are knit together and always will be because that is just the way it is.