Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Birthday #22

I'm trying really really hard not to focus on the fact that my boy will spend his entire year of age 22 totally out of my sight and reach. I won't even know what a 22 year old Manti is like or how he hugs. Nope, not thinking about that at all. [Sniffing back up those tears.]

Since he's so far away and turning 22, I decided it was MY birthday to celebrate how I wanted to. So I did, and I started planning weeks ago. Thought I'd share my "story" with you.

I've never done a real traditional type of birthday thing with my kids. They don't get to pick what kind of cake they want, and they aren't ever sure if they'll get a cake or not! One year, Manti had a watermelon instead of a cake. We put candles in it and sang and all that...but it was a watermelon. One year I made him a fruit pizza....candles again. I did make him a cake once...and decorated it to look like a bloodshot eyeball. So truthfully, you just never know for sure.

How would I carry on with that tradition now?
He loves peach cobbler. He LOVES peach cobbler. My mother-in-law taught me how to make it in a simplistic manner, so that's what I wanted to send him. He eats so much mexican style food that something southern slid in there should gain his notice, right? I thought so too. That's what I wanted to give him....just two problems.... over 1000 miles and mission rules.

I have made a habit of getting to know his companions too. I figure if I can charm those boys, perhaps they'll be nicer to my boy and his life will be a little easier out there. Maybe that's just wishful thinking, I don't care,..I'm doing it anyway. So far, it's been successful, and I've come to really care about the companions I've gotten to know. This particular one is a great kid who LOVES to do birthdays "right" for his friends. Luckily, I also got to know his mother (we both subscribe to same email list for missionary moms) and she helped me. She talked to her son about making the cobbler for me. One hurdle to jump: transfers happened before the birthday! Scary for me because the companion was on deck to relocate! I prayed super hard and asked for him to stay through this one last transfer and then he could go if that's what the Lord wanted. I'm so glad that's what the Lord wanted!! So the companion stayed and I sent his mother my recipe. I explained it in detail how it should look and feel and come together. He was really nervous too! Last week, I put together a box for his birthday. It had his birthday presents in it (a little momento from his childhood from Tommy, a flash drive full of family pictures for his digital picture frame, and a new digital camera) plus a few snacks and the ingredients for the cobbler clearly marked for his companion. His old camera died on Saturday, the same day my box got there. I got an email about that,...lol!

So Monday morning, the boys get up. Manti gets in the shower and his companion starts baking a cobbler SOUTHERN STYLE. Manti got out of the shower, got dressed, got ready to start his P-day and was called into the kitchen. He walked through the doorway and saw a banner saying HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Would you believe it,...he actually wondered whose birthday it was!?! The companion put 2 oven mitts on his hands and handed him the cobbler and said happy birthday to him. He said the cobbler smelled SO GOOD. The companion asked if it looked like mine and he laughed and said no, but it tasted good and they ate it for breakfast. (Of course it was different....elevation and humidity differences saw to that.)

Shortly after that, they go to the library to email their moms and we get to hear all about it. Thankfully his companion really DOES like me and he has taken care of me where pictures are concerned. He has taken lots of pictures of Manti for me and sent them to his mother who turns around and sends them to me along with journal entries her son sends her to give details that Manti seems quite deficient in.

So does this make me forget that I'm missing an entire year out of my child's life? Nope! But it does warm my heart to know that I was included in at least this much of it. And in Manti's email, he told ME happy birthday too,...because it's a day he shares with me.
Now can I have my tears back?

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