Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores
Photographer Patricia Gulick

Sunday, January 19, 2014

9-16-13 RMB Happy Birthday Ritual

9-16-13 RMB Happy Birthday Ritual 

Dear Rita May Brown,

The eldest boy will turn twelve tomorrow. On the boys’ birthdays, I take them shopping for a birthday gift. If they are busy on their actual day, we go on the next closest available day. So tonight, on this Monday evening, we went shopping for his birthday present.

He told me earlier that he wanted an Amazon card. That’s easy. We can get that at a number of places. I figured it would be a quick trip. But when I mentioned going to the grocery store down the street, he asks if we can go to the department store, you know, just in case he sees something else he wants instead.

“Of course.” I say with a grin.

Once at the department store, we walk the toy aisle, the game aisle, even look at clothes and music briefly. He is getting to the age where clothing is almost as important as toys, almost.

Ultimately, he settles on a game instead of the gift card, after showing me the toys and games his friends have and explaining that he is looking for something he can play with his two younger brothers. Ultimately, it ends up taking longer than normal, not a quick trip at all.

And, ultimately, it is the time spent together, the fulfillment of a ritual that acknowledges his special day, shared moments of an aunt’s full attention and a boy’s rite of passage from one year to another that is the greatest gift of all.

Many Happy Birthdays to you,

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