It seems like just a week ago that I was holding Emanuel, he was barely the size of my forearm, warm and cute, all wrapped up in his green little hospital blanket.
There is a meaning to it all, there really is. We get old and pass on all we can to ensure our offspring have an enriched, healthy life. As a parent we are far from perfect and try so hard to filter out our own little imperfections with hope that our children will be better. Yes, better than us. I guess this is the fundamental wish of all parents, to offer our kids more. More than we had or have, praying that they never have to feel all the bumps and bruises we felt. Sure, some are certainly a part of growing up, but others. No, we don’t want our children to have to face all the experiences we have. And so we filter, work, and sand off the rough edges with hopes our children’s life-experience is smoother than ours, rounder.
Emanuel had a wonderful birthday party; twelve of his best friends arrived on time and ready for action. They know Susi well, and her solid planning always means a great party. This year the theme was Ben 10, a popular cartoon figure with the 6-13 groups. We kicked it all off with birthday cake and singing. After the sugar kicked in, each member received a Ben 10 jacket and wallet with very small amount of mystery money inside. Some had just a few cents and others a bit more. But none were prepared for the treasure hunt that they were about to go on.
Susi had driven all over town and came up with 15 points of interest, full with riddles, tasks and hurdles. We broke the group into two teams of six and pushed a laminated map of our village into little their hands with a second laminated sheet of tasks and questions that had to be completed for that team to win. Each team also received a permanent marker. The mission varied, from finding our local pay phone and dialing a secret code-number and speaking a critical message on an answering machine, to going into the local super market and pooling all the money in their wallets, (mystery money –total € 2) and purchasing as many individually packed items as possible for the €2 … The team with the most individually packaged items won that part of the mission.
As you can image, two groups of boys and girls with a map and a mission can be quite exciting. Two and a half hours later each team returned to home base and we were all surprised at how well they did. One of the questions was: What is the word for “Palace” in French? One team’s initiative was to ask every adult they saw till one of them could come up with an answer. I was truly surprised how many people simply didn’t know (maybe because I looked it up)….(château). As you can imagine, the kids loved it and had a blast.
So what was my role in all this? What did I do? First of all, I got to participate. I was able to be a part of a truly special moment for my son and his little brother. I was a part of something both may never forget. Etched in a memory that I hope will be piece of their lives forever. Alone, for that I am grateful. Of course, I also got to cook, clean and be the adult monitor for one team- not the winning team mind you, but one team none the less. Most importantly, I was able to see the happiness and joy in my son’s eyes as he opened presents, played with friends and had a wonderful day.
As I write this, I reflect back on the planning and time Susi invested and realize, it was all worth it. So I guess this note is two things; One, a moment look back at a great birthday, and two, a chance to see a great mom in action. I’ll end this already too long note by saying, Happy Birthday Emanuel Tiberius Silva. And, Happy Mother’s Day, Susanne Silva. No one could have a better son, and no one could be a better mother than you.
I love you both,