Saturday, March 5, 2011

Whispering Softly, Happy Birthday

When he was a baby, I guess he didn't have much choice. The cake was ordered. We all gathered round. We strapped a hat on his head, the rubber band under his chin. We sang Happy Birthday in every chord and key imaginable. And he sat and stared. At the crazy people. He fumbled with the rubber strap. We'd finally place the beautifully made cake in front of him. And as all babies do, he would dive in with both hands, face, mouth and ears.

His first birthday cake was from The Cakery in Albany, Georgia. It was a beautifully decorated Jack In The Box. He had a ball. By the time he was finished, there was cake at every corner of his body. We all had a blast. He appeared to be having a blast.

The next couple of birthday's were of course his 2nd and 3rd, we had his parties at daycare. I can remember even way back then, he looked so uncomfortable.  He didn't cry or fuss, he just looked...uneasy. I remember thinking both times, maybe he just didn't feel well.

Zachary is an old soul. He has always seemed beyond his years. But the year he turned five years old, and was in kindergarten, things changed. We were riding home from work/school, and I was asking him about his day. How it went, did he have a good day. Our normal driving home conversations. And from nowhere, out of the blue, he said, "Please don't have a cake and birthday party for me at school. I don't like it.". I just sat there, stunned and asked him why? Not even just bring cupcakes or something?  He said "No, nothing, I don't want to do anything". Again, I asked him why? And he looked at me with the seriousness of a person who had lived through thick and thin, and back. He said, "Because I don't like everybody looking at me, staring at me, or singing to me and staring at me".

I swear to you, it nearly broke my heart. The look I had seen those other years back, was more than just not feeling well. He was miserable. He was the focus of attention, brought on by someone other than himself, and he did not like it. At all.

He has not changed. Not one little bit. That's not to say, he's never the center of attention. Because, many times he is...the center of the funny and laughing and joking around. But he's comfortable with that. Because he controls it. HE decides when he is or is not the focus. Not his Mama, strapping silly hats with uncomfortable rubber bands under his chin. Not a crowd, singing a silly song to him, and staring him down. And not him being served the first piece of cake because he's the birthday boy. He has always been the last in the serving line. Of any serving line.

Zachary is my unassuming, laid back, it is what it is child. He's mostly black and white, with a few shades of gray. He's a defender/protector of the needy or weak. He does not make excuses for the weak ones he loves. Instead he has rational objectivity about why they are the way they are, and again, it just is what it is. He is steadfast, and he never withers from adversity. He has a strong faith in his beliefs, and he will not be swayed. He loves deeper than most, and most times, you will never know it. His is not a physical love. He hugs his brother without a thought process. And his grandparents with a gentle request. But I don't remember the last time I got a real hug. I get hand taps on the shoulder and fist pumps for good night hugs. 

Zachary will be sixteen years old, Sunday, March 6th. We will not be having a big shing dig. I tried. He refused. There were some teenage years that he "allowed' me to take him and 6 or 7 boys to Applebee's. They all ordered at free will, laughed and seemed to have a good time. Not this year. I tried to do something here at the house. Grill out, invite who you want, music blasting from the shed, play some ping pong and foosball. Nope. Having none of that either. So, it will be just a quiet day. With his grandparents, my sister and her husband, Joshua (YAY! He was able to come home) and his bud Matt and Zach's pretty girlfriend Kay. Good food shared with good people and hopefully lots of laughs. I attempted to push for more. I got the stare down. Which means..please stop.

His only request was that his present be a round of golf for him and three of his friends for next weekend. He and Matt are working all day today, so that was not possible beforehand. Fair enough. I have learned to take things in stride with Zachary.  I've become quite fond of my fist pump good nights. My "peace out, girl scout" good night from Zachary.

I am making a cake though. And ....I bought some candles.....sssssshhhhh don't tell. He probably won't blow them out....but geez...give me a little something...please. All I'm hoping for tomorrow is good family time, good food, lots of laughs, some picture taking without a struggle....and don't let me cry. No tears. Please.

Happy 16th Birthday, Zachary. Your Mama loves you.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims


  1. HaPPy 16th BiRtHdAY Zach (ooops, I mean Kornbread Jr) ... be safe on those roads!

  2. The day will be perfect.he seems to be his own man which is good,so dont cry much ,he is beginning to come in to his adult life.grab hold and dont let go,

  3. He is such a good are one lucky lady!! :)