January 25, 2006

Birthday Pie

The other night, Sweet Funny Extra observed, "Your household is so communal. It's like none of you own anything." He went on to explain what his life was like: a bedroom of his own, with his own bed, his own blankets, his own desk, his own clothes hanging in his own closet, his own stuff on his own shelves. He is amused by the way my boys will just grab any pair of mittens or hat, socks or scarf.

My daughter does have her own room, even though it's tiny. Well, it's sort of her own room. With-a-Why sleeps in her bed on school nights, mainly because he needs to go to sleep earlier than his two older brothers. And Blonde Niece uses her room when she is here on weekends. And I do store stuff in her closet even though she complains about it. And her room is the only place where I can set up the massage table if I want to do reiki or massage, since the room I share with Spouse has space for a bed and not much else.

My boys are used to sharing everything with each other and with our extras. And most of the time, they are fine with this method of living. I don't think any of my boys would even want his own room. My kids have always slept piled together like a litter of kittens.

But sometimes – every once in a while – it's nice for one of my boys to have something of his own. Something he does not have to share.

Every year on his birthday, my mother brings Shaggy Hair Boy a homemade apple pie, a special treat that he is not obligated to share with anyone. We all love my mother’s apple pies – she puts in just the right amount of sugar with the apples so that the taste will be both tart and sweet, and her crust is famous. And Shaggy Hair Boy delights each year in torturing us with his birthday pie.

He will cut a piece right before supper time, just when I am the hungriest, and eat it slowly, savoring each bite, sitting close enough to me on the couch that I can smell the apple and cinnamon. And when I am eating breakfast – some kind of stupid healthy cereal with soy milk – he'll sit down with a piece of pie and a steaming mug of cocoa. Sometimes he'll walk around the room with his plate just to be sure he has an audience before he even takes a bite.

This year we all tried to manipulate him into giving us some. "Can I just lick the crumbs from the plate?" I begged shamelessly. Boy in Black tried to play into his adolescent nature, "How about you give me a piece just to spite Mom?" But Shaggy Hair Boy did not budge. He ate the whole pie himself, one piece at a time, making each piece last as long as he could. Within 24 hours, it was gone.

I know how important it is for Shaggy Hair Boy to have something that is all his own. As he savored each bite of pie, he tossed his long curls in the casual manner of a cool fifteen-year-old, but the smile on his face – he has always been an expressive kid – showed how much he was enjoying this opportunity to gloat. Like him, I'm the third child born in my own family so I understand completely.

But I'm glad his birthday only comes once each year.

15 comments:

Leslee said...

That's such a great present! Sometimes I wish I had a household of kids like you. Then reality wakes me up.

ppolarbear said...

My parents had a deal where we could be selfish with birthday or Christmas presents for 3 days, and then after that, all toys were family property and we had to share. I don't think either of us minded sharing the toys, but those first three days had a unique deliciousness to them.

ccw said...

As an only child having communal items seems like a foreign concept, but I can only hope that my children will be as close as your children.

I love pie as a the unshared present. How special that must be for him and a long day for the rest of you.

sheepish said...

I'm trying to figure out if the main point of the present is the actual pie itself or the ability to torture the rest of the family. I'm thinking the latter.

Mona Buonanotte said...

You've got the coolest mom.

And you ARE the coolest mom.

So I guess your daughter will also be...one day....

halloweenlover said...

Wait, only shaggy hair boy gets a pie? Nobody else?

Now I'm craving apple pie. But only your mom's ; )

Colleen said...

I love how your writing expresses how much love and respect everyone in your family has for each other, even when they try to get a piece of the pie.

Friday Mom said...

I wish I had grown up this way. In my adulthood, challenging my sense of entitlement and ownership to learn how to be in community has been hard.

Running2Ks said...

My brother and I always had separate stuff. It took a long time for me to accept that you HAVE to share a room and a bed with your spouse.

And yet, reading this, I wish for being a pile of kittens.

I'd share the pie.

This story is so sweet, literally :)

Kyra said...

I love this post! Your family is very sweet.

Yankee T said...

Great post. I love the "pile of kittens" image.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

My kids (4 and 1) are sharing a room and absolutely everyone who comes by asks why. Well, there are only two bedrooms, and one is mine ... Next time someone asks I will point themt o this post : )

susan said...

What a cool story. I love it in so many ways: the pie for a birthday, the kitchen scene you describe so well, the pie-to-himself.

Happy Birthday, Shaggy Hair Boy.

Jeannette said...

I'm the oldest of five.
I totally know what you're talking about. I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I moved into my college dorm room, shared with 3 other girls. At least none of them pilfered my M&M's, and my mom wasn't there to make me share either. :-)
The large family ownership (or lack thereof) mentality permeates to the core. I have a fundamentally different idea of ownership than so many people around me. What's "mine" just doesn't seem to be as big a deal.

Viagra said...

The first paragraph seems like poetry because I could find rhyme in it, I think that the person who wrote this should be a perfect poet.