We celebrated Elliott's 2nd birthday Saturday. His actual birth date is this Thursday, the 18th, but Thursday birthday parties are about as popular as snow skiing in Florida. Finding a more popular weekend day meant choosing between the weekend before and the weekend after his birthday. We chose the weekend before, putting some space between Elliott's day and Christmas day, hoping to minimize the opportunity for the old "one gift should cover it all" trick. I know this trick well. I used it to celebrate my dad's birthday, who shares December 18th with Elliott, the moment I had to use my own allowance to purchase gifts.
Elliott awoke from his nap to a house decorated withThomas the Train trimmings. Percy was hanging in a doorway, James was dressing the table top and Thomas was everywhere. If these names are not familiar to you, rent a two year old for a weekend and you too can be on a first name basis with these colorful, talking steam kettles. When Elliott spotted the decorations, he shouted "Thomas." We had chosen an appropriate theme.
If we questioned whether or not Elliott would understand the concept of receiving at Christmas, his birthday gave the answers. When he opened his Thomas the Train beginners set, he shouted "look mama, it's Thomas the Train." Mama was a good mom and acted like she was meeting Elliott's friend for the first time, but the truth is, she's been hauling Thomas and his friends from our living room floor to the toy box for months now. That made her welcoming smile worthy of an Academy Award.
It didn't compare to Elliott's smile. Oh, how I wish his life would remain so cheerfully responsive to tiny wooden toys that fit perfectly into his two year old hands. Toys that don't make a sound unless he provides his own "choo choo" or some less than horrific crashing sound as the train derails off the couch. Can I possibly help him avoid the marketing scam that is our country, the one that would lead us to believe that a shoe is not a shoe without a swoosh on it, a game is not a game without a screen and a controller, that the imagination and ideas of others are worth more than our own.
I pray that I'll be able to help Elliott understand that many of the complications in life that inhale the simple pleasure that is Thomas, are complications we create. Thomas doesn't lose his ability to bring us joy, we just quit looking his direction.