Since Friday was With-a-Why's birthday, both of my older kids came home for the weekend, with a bunch of extras joining us as well. Friday night, they jammed, filling the house with music, and Saturday afternoon was reserved for games of Ultimate Frisbee. The weather has turned cold – we had snow Thursday night – and it was time to root through the winter clothes for long underwear and fleece hats. As the kids came in from playing frisbee, their faces were bright red from the wind.
It wasn't a formal birthday party, but we did gather near the fireplace for cake and a candle ceremony. It was a combined candle ceremony, since both Skater Boy and With-a-Why had birthdays this week. It seemed, too, as I looked around the room, that the ritual marked the transition from sunny outdoor days to the cozy indoor weather of late fall and winter.
FirstExtra and Blonde Niece, still cold from playing Ultimate Frisbee, were fighting for places near the red hot coals and crackling flames. With-a-Why was snuggled on the couch between Shaggy Hair Boy and my Wonderful Smart Beautiful Daughter, all three holding hot bowls of homemade vegetable soup. Pirate Boy drowsed in the comfy chair nearest the fire, while Boy in Black balanced on the arm of the chair, strumming a guitar, his foot on the wooden kitchen chair that Skater Boy was sitting on. Sailor Boy sat astride the piano bench just behind Spouse, who was brandishing a knife with which he was going to cut the cake. Older Neighbor Boy, lead singer for the Pseudonymous Boy Band, set down his microphone to come sit on the oak bench that we use as a coffee table, completing the circle.
Since it was daylight, we didn't light twelve different candles, but instead just passed a beeswax candle from person to person, each of us saying something nice about the two birthday kids, With-a-Why and Skater Boy. Of course, even when it's not dark, most of the teenage boys are still able to hide their faces with just a shake of their long hair – and hide their emotions with jokes and funny lines – but despite the silliness, the room was warm with firelight and affection.