Then, with the joy of smearing acrylic paint all over a new canvas, I excitedly frost this homemade two-layered cake. It’s shaped like a number 5, of course–for my son’s fifth birthday today.
It’s only a couple of days before Christmas, so celebrating his birth is like adding an extra punctuation mark into the already colorful paragraph that reads as the story of our festive Christmas in Saxony.
We’d baked the chocolate cake (his request) together last night—it turned out heavier and denser than I’d expected—nothing that a topping of gooey, chocolatey frosting covered in colored crispy sprinkles won’t fix!
And while he’s in Kita (German Kindergarten) now, I take the opportunity to blow up balloons, arrange the gifts on the kitchen table, and add the final touches to this cake.
Opa and Oma arrive with more giant presents, a bouquet of flowers “Für Geburtstags Kind!”, and I take a moment to contemplate my son’s life so far.
Five years ago today, the end of an excruciatingly painful 48 hours had finally come. After unsuccessful trying for a natural delivery, I was ready and nearly begging for the doctors to operate—and “get that giant baby out!”
It’s not true, as some say, that you forget the pain of labor once you see your child. And five years on, the memory of that intense experience is still there.
But what does happen, is that the new life, which now has grown, grown up, and become an individual—the new love that you now have—all of that covers the pains of the past. All of that makes it worth it. And maybe that’s the biggest magic of it all—the miracle that life can be.
Contemplating the life I lived before and after becoming a mother, makes me grateful for every experience.
When you’ve been through a painful birth, you hold that child closer. When your children get sick or are hospitalized, you know just how wonderful all the days of being well truly are. When there are obstacles to overcome, long journeys to make, things to give up just to do the best and be the best for your children, love becomes greater, deeper, forever.
No matter. To him, it is a joyous occasion, and for all of us, too.
The challenges of parenting, the hurdles, the costs…everything is worth it when you look at your child and know that (for those who make the choice to become parents) there is hardly anything greater, no deeper love.
It’s a journey on its own, to bring a child into the world, the “trials and tribulations”, the sleepless nights, the excessive worrying, the plain hard work it is, this parenting business, endless movement, constant growth and change.
Yet what a fantastic adventure! One that keeps on going, a thrill that never stops; joy that is replenished and renewed (just as a parent’s patience must be) every day.