Princess H enjoyed a slow-burning week of birthday delights. An afternoon with Momo at our quirky new neighborhood children's museum, fancy lunch and a box of very grown-up macarons with Mimo, a delightful little party with friends at the park (more on that later!), lovely and thoughtful gifts from beloved admirers near and far, bicycle-riding lessons with Daddy and the Tweed Ride crowd, a big band concert on the West steps of the Capitol... it was almost enough to make me forget how much I hate my kids' birthdays.
Princess H also received her very first special delivery: a bouquet of fruit from our fairy godmother. It was perhaps the perfect gift for a precocious three-year-old. She started glowing as soon as she realized the doorbell was for her, and it just got better from there. The unwrapping, the admiring, the gleeful selecting of berry or grapes or chocolate-dipped pineapple flowers -- the juicy little basket provided seemingly endless enjoyment for the birthday girl and the many lucky people with whom she happily shared the largess.
But, alas, it wasn't actually endless. And by the next evening, when Three and Dr. P came by to pick up their newly-three-year-old date for a celebratory milkshake, the once-lush arrangement had been reduced to a beleaguered mess of kale-covered foam and naked bamboo skewers. Three, the Dr. and I were discussing what a great present it was, and how much Princess H loved it. "Too bad it's all gone," I said.
"No!" cried a small, excited little voice. "No, no! I still have one!" The Princess, who had appeared totally immersed in a book on the other side of the room, sprang up like a little bunny and scampered across the floor with even more than her typical exuberance. She ran to the denuded basket, thrust her chubby little fingers into its pillaged depths and retrieved a rather forlorn wedge of honeydew. With glittering eyes, she proudly offered the slightly dessicated prize to her visitors. "It's still good! You can share it!" Dr. P, always quick on his feet, suggested she have the first bite. "But it's for you!" she countered. When the good Doctor insisted, she consented to a microscopic nibble just big enough to inform her heartfelt endorsement, "it's so SO delicious!" She then gave it to Three and P with a million watt smile that made it clear she was done negotiating.
As favorite moments often do, this one crept up quietly. It wasn't anything flashy, and even if we'd had a camera we couldn't have captured the magic of those words and her smile and the wilted melon and the pure joy that filled her eyes and the whole room as she learned for herself -- and reminded the rest of us -- what happens when you share something special.