A Special Occasion

We celebrated my son’s 11th birthday last night. It was one of those evenings I know that I will never forget because it was so authentically joyous. There was an ease of the five of us together that is never actually easy to come by. But, for whatever reason, last night it did. We sat at a hibachi restaurant, we watched the chef cook, we ate, we talked. Sienna didn’t get up and walk around and touch people or try to talk to them. She didn’t have food all over her face. She didn’t demand we eat fast and leave immediately. She didn’t fight for attention. She didn’t even ask me for my phone. Sienna allowed the night to belong to Sean. We allowed the night to belong to each other. The happiness that filled me made me feel weightless. And the calm. Dare I say, relaxed? That just doesn’t happen ever. It felt real. It felt like how being a family is supposed to feel like. No tension. No chaos. No trying to control anyone. No holding my breath, waiting for something to happen. It felt how I imagine it must feel for most families most of the time. Or maybe that’s only in my imagination? There was a time, years ago, that I dreamed of moments like this. And, there was also a time, not that long ago, that I didn’t dare to dream of moments like this because dreaming about it hurt too much – like hoping for something out of reach and the hope of it is just a reminder that it was never mine and never could be.

Yet there we were, the five of us. At a restaurant celebrating my son’s birthday. Feeling so natural. Like it was just another evening spent together as a family. And it was, really. But, it was so much more than that. It was like, for that one moment, we had all come home to each other. Like we fit perfectly together. And, as heartwarming as it is to think about, I do have to work at not letting sadness dampen the mood because moments like this are something I really only get glimpses of, but I can’t hold on to them for too long. I don’t have the luxury to be able to take this kind of experience for granted. So, this is me, focusing on the good. Hoping the high from it lasts until the next one. Believing there’s a lot more to come.

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