My son, Rojo, turned fourteen on the 14th of this month – his golden birthday. Went shopping for paper products for his party: plates, napkins, that sort of thing. Found the Elmo-themed stuff and grabbed it. The boy does love Elmo, actually has a stuffed Elmo that he calls his son. Upon closer look saw that it said, “For baby’s first birthday.” Put them back. Couldn’t do it. Love the boy, would do anything for him except get him something that says that. Not that he’d care. At all. But I care. He is not a baby.
He is fourteen, and while he may not want, nor need, any of the things that a typical fourteen-year-old wants and/or needs, he is not a baby.
Went to a different store and found an Elmo balloon. Had the young man at the counter help me, blow it up, attach a matching red ribbon and weight, and looped it through my cart to finish my shopping. Saw three babies in the store point and make sounds as they saw Elmo flying high in the air of Safeway.
“Where’d you get the Elmo balloon?” one heavily tattooed young man pushing a stroller asked me. “It’s my son’s first birthday today. He loves Elmo.”
“Over in floral,” I answered. “It’s perfect for a baby’s first birthday.”
“Exactly,” said the man.
Then I went home and cried.
And got ready for the party.
And wished my baby a very happy birthday.
And it was.