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Poetry

On Valentine’s Day & Half-Birthdays

It’s Valentine’s Day, and the person below is officially 12 & 1/2.

This poem was written in celebration of him.

the boy is all cheeks. 

he sits on a slope, fingering the grass

along the edges of an old flower box, grass

the mower blades always miss. 

tall green spikes with tips

still intact and pointing upward, stretching

toward sky, the daffodils open

their yellow mouths, lean in toward the boy

sing-songing words

only rocks understand.  

he is speaking of his contentment,

telling the triangular lupines about his day:

his pancakes at breakfast,

his discovery about doors (that they open

and close), about the milky smell of his blanket, or

how right it felt to be held

the hour before. it is a moment

without the crunch of car tires, a moment

without demand. no one needs

to be fed or wiped or comforted. it is a moment

without clutter, no toys on the floor,

no books needing to be stacked. 

nothing to straighten or fold. it is a moment

to keep. the boy is mine. 

the world is purple flowers.

Do you celebrate half-birthdays?

Tweet this Twit @rasjacobson

51 thoughts on “On Valentine’s Day & Half-Birthdays

  1. Loving the poem, especially the milky blanket scent. Brings back so many memories of when my kiddos were young and dependent. Now mine are 14, 12 and 8. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but when they need me now (for money, for chicken soup when they’re sick…) I’m OVER the moon. Thanks for sharing. And happy bday to your cheeky monkey. Oh, and I try to celebrate my daughter’s 1/2 bday (her real bday is 12/23…totally SUCKY). Sadly, when 6/23 rolls around, we usually forget… I’m such a bad mom 🙂

  2. Yes, it is Valentine’s Day and my youngest is officially 16 1/2! It’s funny how those half-birthdays mean so much to them, when did we as adults stop celebrating half-birthdays? How many people do you hear say they are 56 1/2? Happy Valentine’s and half-birthday day to you too!

  3. I don’t celebrate 1/2 birthdays but my 36 year old daughter certainly does. And she drags out her birthday into a birthday week. I also have a friend who does not celebrate 1/2 birthdays but celebrates birthday months. Go figure.

    1. I’m not a big birthday celebration girl. I know people who go out for days with a zillion girlfriends. Not my thing. I’m pretty chill about that. I just appreciate a nice phone call or a little alone time with a few special friends.

      But as long as this kid will let me do 1/2 birthday, I’m in. 😉

  4. What a beautiful poem. For me, it’s all about those cheeks. My son is 5 and still has them. Someday he will be 12 1/2 and I will be missing these.

    Also, I think any reason to party and celebrate is a good one. I’ve considered celebrating 1/2 birthdays because mine have winter birthdays; and its easier to host big bashes when I have use of both inside/outside spaces. Maybe your post is the catalyst I needed to make it happen this year.

    http://kateschannel.wordpress.com/

  5. Beautifully written – I love how you caputured that moment, almost like a time capusle and when you read it, you bring back all those yummy memories. Happy 1/2 Birthday to Tech Support! Happy Valentine’s to beautiful you! With birthdays 12/9 & 1/2 we SHOULD celebrate half birthdays – but for some reason it has never gained traction in our house.

  6. Well if I didn’t celebrate half-birthdays, I’m going to have to start now. I’m mushy crying because you perfectly said why motherhood is so shockingly great sometimes 🙂

    1. Thanks Nina. My dude goes to overnight camp during the summer, so he isn’t around to celebrate on his real b’day. That’s why i like to make a little fuss. It’s just nice that his 1/2 b’day falls on Valentines Day. That way I can remind him he’s always got my heart. 😉

  7. Neither I nor my 42 year-old daughter would be interested in doubling our awareness of our birthdays. I’m thinking about celebrating every three or four years instead of every year.

  8. I still mentally track my kids’ ages by the month, but I don’t know that we celebrate them. Celebration is always good though! Is it possible to look at your two-year-old and imagine him as a twelve-year-old?
    A very merry unbirthday to your son!

  9. Hi Renee! ‘Member me?! I wish there was a “love” button for this post! What a lovely poem!! We don’t celebrate 1/2 birthdays, but my youngest’s b-day is July 25th and we had a really fun “Christmas in July” birthday party for her one year because of her big day being exactly 6 months until Christmas!
    PS- How have you been?

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