Pop-Tart Gratitude

More birthday gratitude, and this time it’s my nephew’s birthday that I’m grateful for. My little pop-tart is about to turn 4, and my family and I went to Maryland this past weekend to celebrate with him. We had a family party complete with about 10 cousins (the kid’s party will be in a couple of weeks), and it was fantastic to watch him gobble up the family love and attention! Before everybody arrived he insisted on standing on the step-stool and staring out the window, asking me every couple of minutes why people were late (they weren’t ). I told him at one point that we had about 45 minutes until arrival time, and he asked me, “Is that a long time?” “It is when you’re just staring out the window!” I told him. We both laughed (well he giggled), and he agreed to come back and play until his guests arrived.

He melted (figuratively of course!) into his awesome Yellow Submarine Cake that my sister-in-law Stacy made for him, unbuttoning his adorable preppy gingham so that he could show us his Yellow Submarine shirt underneath. He looks just like my brother Jake did at that age! (Jake, circa 1976/77). Jake as a little boy Happy Matthew on his birthday

He ripped the wrapping paper off of his gifts just like how you would expect a 4 year-old to, with such enthusiasm, as if each gift was made of gold!

The Yellow Submarine ShirtMatthew's birthday cakeMatthew birthday

When everybody had left M was zonked, but we made it to our favorite Mexican restaurant in the area and he did well, giving us nuggets in between his rice and beans of what he loved the most from the party. And the next day we had him all to ourselves, so we played with his new toys: his Pirate Playmobile, Hungry Hippos, and Zingo.

In the mornings M came into my room and jumped on my bed, asking to play games on my phone, hiding under the blankets and squealing with delight when I would pretend like I had no idea where he was (then I’d tickle him), and then asking that I come downstairs and eat breakfast with him. With each request my heart melted just a little bit more, and I watched him out of the corner of my eye when he didn’t know that I was watching, trying to drink up every little lovely thing about him– The adorable way that his hair sticks up a little bit in the back, the bit of chocolate from his birthday cake that he had no idea was giving him a cute little mustache, his laugh when he says something silly and cracks himself (and everybody else) up. His sense of wonder at the “little” things, his desire to learn about the earth, sun and moon (taught by my Dad, his pee-pah), the text messages that he asked me to write on my phone and send to Grandma from him, and the way he curls into my arms when I’m reading to him and he’s tired. I don’t get to see him a whole lot, so I truly treasure every single moment that I have with him.

Since my cancer diagnosis I have been much more focused on creating and bringing more joy into my life, and it’s experiences like this that fit the bill perfectly. My little pop-tart is my sunshine, my buddy, my blood. I love you Matthew. Happy Birthday!

Sam and Matthew on his birthday

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