Mother Hen’s Fourth Birthday

It has been a week of my birthday memories with Gideon, and these last two posts will conclude our series, as we are finally – thank goodness? – up to date. Monday last was his birthday with all sorts of celebrations leading up to and following his special day.

But the most important thing to know is that my little man is now 4 years old.

I was scratching his back today as he was waking up from his nap on our sunroom glider and couldn’t help but marvel at his long, lean body. Just a few short months ago, he was stocky, still more toddler than little boy. But now…well, now his body is morphing into the lines of a schoolchild, a young Tom Sawyer if you will, with legs and arms beginning to sprawl out all over the place. But he still fits quite nicely in my lap, even with his unborn baby sister resting so hugely in my stomach, so there is no need to panic. Not yet, anyway.

And you will be so proud to know that I only had a few minor (plus one major) breakdowns over this turn of events. The major took place one night a few days before his birthday as I was trying to fall asleep. Now keep in mind that I am very pregnant and that when I am pregnant I am as up and down as a very large carousel horse…the knowledge will stop you from growing too concerned when I tell you that this was one of those purging cries that alarms husbands, the kind where you rock and moan and have to turn the lights on lest you suffocate to death. Although this sobfest was surely heightened by my pregnancy hormones, I have at least one good cry every year around March 14th…

My husband and the more emotionally-sturdy among you probably ask yourselves…Why does she cry? Its not as if Gideon is really changing on March 14th…its just another day of those tiny movements of growth that the eye can never catch. And its not as if I have reason to be sad…birthdays are not funerals, after all, but celebrations of life, of another year of God’s blessings. They are a marker that proclaims “Congratulations, birthday person! You’ve made it back to the place where it all started and you’re still alive! Have a cake!”

But to Mrs. Gore, the sappiest sentimental basketcase of a mother on the block, birthdays are a bit funeral-like. The child who stood in the space of a 3-year old for one year will never be mine again…his personality will change, his habits will change, his mispronunciations will be corrected, and probably more painful than anything else, his need for me will lessen. On March 14th of every year, I say goodbye to last year’s unique Gideon and ready myself to welcome the new one. Believe me, I do welcome this new boy with open arms, excited to experience a new year with him, to see how he will grow and develop and become better and more self-controlled. But first…first, I have to say goodbye to last year’s Gideon. And that’s why I cry. I will miss 3-year old Gideon for the rest of my life and I will never, ever get to hold him again. Oh geeze, there’s that blasted throat lump again…moving on….

{Hopefully you’re not crying too, now. And hopefully I haven’t ruined birthdays for you!}

True to form, I dreamed about this birthday party for months, beginning on a December trip to Dry Gulch U.S.A. to ride the magical and not-to-be-missed Christmas Train ( After our train ride, we visited my personal favorite Dry Gulch haunt, the Saloon (this one serves hot chocolate and soda pop) where the same cowboy band we loved at our visit last year was playing again. Gideon and I got as close to the stage as we could and sat on the floor to see their show. My son is fascinated by cowboys, by the music I have personally chosen for him on I-tunes (I’m not bragging, I’m just extremely good at what I do), and by violins (or in this case, fiddles), and when this three-man band started playing “(I’ve Got Spurs that) Jingle Jangle Jingle”, one of our favorite vintage cowboy songs in the world, #2 on Gideon’s playlist, I nearly came unhinged with excitement, and so did Gid the Kid. And the ol’ wheels started turning…

See how happy that band made us??

By the time the show was over, I had made up my mind, I had pictured it all, it was going to happen…that band was going to play at Gideon’s church-wide outdoor cook-out cowboy birthday party or I would die trying. Chris’s defenses went up before I even opened my mouth. He could see that familiar gleam in my eye, the same gleam I get when American Girl retires another historical doll and I start scheming for how we can purchase every item before they’re no longer available…

“Chris!” I exclaimed. “We’ve got to get that band for Gideon’s birthday party! And we can have a cookout and we can give him his fiddle and then he can start taking his fiddle lessons and…”

Chris said something sagely and wise here, something about slowing down, about being realistic, about how Christmas was in 5 days and we really should focus on that…but I was too excited. I nodded my head and pushed him in the direction of the band. Sweet, sweet man that he is, he did chase down the lead singer backstage to get his card (meaning I didn’t even need all that mistletoe to inspire me to plant a big ol’ kiss on his cheek!). In my mind, it was what some cowboys (and lots of non-cowboys) call “a done deal.” I moved on to other things, like what kind of cake I was going to make and whether the party should be the weekend before or the weekend after Gideon’s Monday birthday.

I was further beside myself when I did a little digging and found that the band’s fiddler was in the Fiddler’s Hall of Fame and gives fiddle lessons…now, in my imaginative mind, he would not only be playing at Gideon’s birthday party, but this man would be the primary inspiration in Gideon’s musical career. Why, things were working out ever so perfectly, this simply had to be God-ordained!

I contacted the band in January via e-mail and put them in touch with Mr. Gore (the primary phone-talker in the family) and finally, after a month-long game of phone tag, a couple of snowstorms and a lot of reluctance and “forgetting to call” on Chris’s part, we heard back from the band on whether or not they’d even be willing to come to the middle of nowhere for a 4-year old’s party…

I’ll never forget the excitement I felt when Chris walked in the front door from work and said “I talked to your fiddle-player today and…they can do it.” My heart leaped! I clasped my hands under my chin, waiting for the rest. “They’re actually really excited about it…” he said. I nodded, expectantly, waiting for the important part. “And it will only cost…$750.”

My hands dropped, as did my mouth, as did my brilliant idea. It was SO ridiculously out of our budget that I couldn’t even feel disappointed, but had to join Mr. Gore in a good, long laugh at another of Mother Hen’s ideas that miserably and dramatically bit the dust.

I guess that party idea wasn’t from God after all, even though it was a beauty. Gideon and I will just have to enjoy our favorite cowboy band at Dry Gulch with all the other general admission ticket holders next year…

So now what?!

To be continued…

I'm dreaming of a cowboy birthday party...

4 thoughts on “Mother Hen’s Fourth Birthday

  1. Yes, my throat also clogged up, and there are tears (just barely, mind you, since I am old and all dried up!) creeping out the sides of my eyes. Loved it, and by the way, love you.

  2. Love your description of mourning the old Gideon while welcoming the new. As my Riggins turns 11 months old (how on earth!?!) next week, I’m sure I have many major and minor breakdowns ahead in the next month!

  3. Lesley…if you will just publish a book with your wonderfully talented writings, you can then afford your $750.00 band!! AND…you can afford those probably very expensive fiddle lessons for Gideon! Love the stories and love you!

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