Not this year.
For his actual birthday, we just had the small family affair - like we've normally been having the past few years. He made his own cake as is his wont, and as you can see he even did his own decorating this year. That was possibly the CRUNCHIEST red velvet cake you ever had, due to the amazing quantity of sprinkles on top.
We got him his heart's desire, a NERF GUN which he has asked for literally for the past two years. It's hilarious and huge and despite my VERY anti-gun opinions, I'm afraid it tickles me a bit. I don't know why. Can you tell he liked it?
He took it outside and shot up the worlds largest mushroom that was growing in our front yard. THAT will teach you, damned fungi!
You might think that this was a pretty nice birthday - but we wanted to do something special - something different - because this little boy is different, IS special in ways I cannot adequately share in words.
So we rented a train car at the Southeastern Railway Museum north of Atlanta.
And we invited his friends and classmates to come and share in our joy - which they did with great enthusiasm.
Why? Why a second party, that is pretty lavish and full of excitement for a little boy who already had a pretty darned good birthday? Why SPOIL him?
Because ladies of the jury, this child is not spoiled in his life. His entire life revolves around accommodations for two demanding special needs brothers. "Change the channel, that show is upsetting your brother - I don't CARE change it now!" "Just give him the toy, you can play with it later!" "Put that away, don't play with it now, it's pieces are too small - Lil Birdman will eat the pieces!" "Pick up the pieces of that broken toy so no one eats it - quick get them!" "Watch your brothers Mommy and Daddy will be in the kitchen."
He's their keeper, their warden, their guardian angel. He gives up and gives up and gives up. He shares bites of food and treats when they have eaten all of theirs and want more. He is patient with them, especially when they are unreasonable to the point of insanity.
So we played games, and had a really expensive fancy birthday cake complete with a dinosaur that lept from the cake and roared (ok that was REALLY cool) and we got to tour ALL of the trains in the museum......
And to end our day, we got to ride on a real train - all of the kids piling into the gondola on top of the caboose, to ride up on top looking out the windows at the freezing rain that was falling outside.
This child is some days like a small saint to me, despite his flawed human self - who is in fact only seven. As I watched the other children at the party I really understood how different he is, and how different his life is. He doesn't have the LUXURY of selfishness or even the opportunity to be ME centered the way the other children do. It makes me sad - but in a lot of ways it makes me proud. I think in the long run it will make him a better person.
Thus - once in a while, this child gets his hearts desire. Because this is right and just.