Then he had his Friend Party on Saturday at the Buffalo Zoo, who took him and all his friends (almost his whole class, a really cute bunch who all get along well) on a personal tour through the reptile house (his choice) and brought a snake and a turtle for him to hold (also his choice). Sunday was his family party, where he got just about everything he asked for, including his best cousin and friend, Ryan, back from Cape Cod in time for the festivities.
It was hard this year, I thought, to get it right with the whole birthday thing. When he was four, I threw him this wicked awesome Star Wars bash, complete with theme music, life-sized Jar Jar Binks, and a Darth Vader pinata to be attacked by light sabre. When he was five, he had a bounce house. Six, a mad scientist party at the science museum. And in the meantime? The kid has everything he wants. He doesn't exactly ask for much, either. In Toronto, we offered to let him pick anything he wanted out of the gift shop. What did he pick? A Chinese yoyo. Seriously. Joe felt chintzy and made him take a boomerang, too.
And I thought and thought and thought about all of it, wondering what it was that I really wanted Joey to have this year, this boy who has everything (including the world's best mom). And really, it's always come down to this. I want to give him the whole world.
Oh, you know I went all cheeseball with THAT.
Yes, I went online and Googled "illuminated globe." I searched, read reviews, and found the perfect one at Frontgate.com. I ordered it by phone, not online, to make sure it processed right away. The day it arrived, Monday, I typed out a heartfelt letter to Joey and then waited until he was in bed, and brought him the letter. He read it out loud to me and gave me a hug. I said, "Joey, close your eyes. I have one last present for you."
"Okay!" he said, grinning and scrunching his eyes closed. I had to make sure he wasn't peeking, and then I dashed into the hall, grabbed what might be the coolest globe ever, brought it into his room, and plugged it in. In the dim light of his room at bedtime, it looked perfect.
"Okay!" I said excitedly. "You can look!"
Joey uncovered his eyes and looked expectantly at my flourished presentation.
"A globe?" he said.
"Well, yes," I said, feeling a little hurt. "I wanted to give you the world."
Prepare yourself for the great disappointment I felt: Joey rolled his eyes. "It's not really the whole world, Mom. It's a model of the whole world."
"But...it's what I wish I could give you." I forced my smile to stay plastered on my face. Weakly, I added, "Buffalo's on it."
Joey climbed into his bed and snuggled under the covers, reaching his arms out for me. I bent down and hugged him close, glad to hide how absolutely crushed I felt that my cheesy, ridiculously corny gift had failed.
Joey held my neck tightly and didn't let go for a long moment. Just as I was about to pull away, he whispered, "And anyway, I still love you more."
...Kid, there's just no way.