Tuesday, December 18, 2007

for Christmas, may this woman get a lump of fragrance-free, sugar-free, gluten-free coal

Today is Iris' tenth birthday. I know this because I'm pretty good at remembering dates and also because Iris has been pretty good about reminding me. It seems girls that age can get excited about their birthdays months in advance.

(When I asked how old one of our other neighbors was upon first meeting her, she told me she was eight. And then she added with a laugh, "Well, almost nine."

"Oh," I said. "When's your birthday?"

"May," she said.

The conversation took place in September.)

Stupid Daddy and I talked for weeks about what we might do for Iris. We knew that if we got her a gift, her mom would just make her give it--or something else--away. Back when Iris was still allowed to hang out with us, we thought it would be great to take her to see a movie or go swimming--to share an experience with her that Sonia could not confiscate. But now even that was no longer an option.

Since Iris had told me last week (and I could have guessed anyway) that Sonia wasn't going to be doing anything special to mark the day, I thought I might bake some cupcakes and bring them in to school. But the weekend came and went, and all of a sudden it was last night and there were no cupcakes baked by me. I blew it.

I was relieved, then, to find out from Iris, who came over on her compost run, that her mom had baked a chocolate cake for her to bring in to school today. Relieved but also shocked. Sonia had baked a chocolate cake?

But then Iris went on to describe it. There was indeed chocolate in it, and it was round the way cakes are, but it was by no means a chocolate cake. The primary ingredient was oats. Iris didn't seem too excited about it.

Iris also wanted to know if we could make it to her school's holiday performance this morning. (Neither of us could.)

"At first my mom was going to come," she said. "But then she decided not to."

"That's too bad," I said. "Did she say why?"

"Not really. She just said she wants to wake up and be by herself tomorrow."

If it was the eve of your tenth birthday, how would you feel hearing that from your mother?


Mrs. Blogoway said...

poor baby, that's awful!

tiny tin bird said...

This made my icy-cold heart ache.

Paida said...

That is so sad. My daughter is turning 10 in March - it is so sad that a mom wouldn't make a big deal out of this momentous birthday.

I mean double digits man, double digits.

Also it marks a decade of motherhood for me. Not the easiest thing in the world - but no doubt it is the most rewarding thing I have ever done.

At my kid's school on birthdays everyone in their class gives an "appreciation" for the birthday person. Each student has tell the birthday person some specific thing they appreciate about the birthday boy or girl. It is very sweet and the look on the face of the birthday kid is so great when they hear the nice things their classmates have to say about them. That might be an idea for you guys.

Tina Rowley said...

Oh, man. That's a heartbreaker. That woman doesn't want to run into me in a dark alley, may I just say. She'd definitely want to spend a day by herself afterwards.