Today was my son Jonah's tenth birthday. Falling on Good Friday as it did, he had something of an extra treat for his birthday; no school, a family day off, a family brunch out, his grandparents arriving for the weekend and a big family birthday dinner (crabcakes, in observance of Good Friday, at his request). His present arrived on time (a big Casio keyboard–he wants to take lessons), and we spent a good chunk of the day at the zoo.
Good times, as his brother Kevin would say.
So now, I have a three, ten, and thirteen year old. The oldest is the age of the sum of the younger two; a mathematical alignment we won't see again. The three are as different as three children can be, and yet so tied together. I clung to each moment of today, watching them interact; Kevin, the 13 year old, responding well to the additional responsibility that comes with his age (he can be left in charge of his siblings for short periods of time now, and he revels in that role); Jonah, blossoming socially and showing more of the depths of his talents; Zoe, the youngest, yet somehow clearly in charge of her brothers.
At the end of it all, his mom (my ex) prepared to depart with him and his brother for the night. “Why do I have to go to Mommy's house on my birthday?” he moaned. There's a lot behind that question, too much context for me to deliver here. I answered, “Because she loves you too, and wants to spend time with you. And we'll be back together on Easter Sunday.”
It's hard to watch the boys go, not just because I know they really don't want to, but because it breaks up the trio for a little while. Things don't run as smoothly with all of them when they're not a unit.