because life doesn’t fit in a file folder
Posted on

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. I don’t celebrate them generally, but I’m celebrating this person’s half-birthday with you. Happy half-birthday, Tech Support!

    1. Thanks Deb. I can’t believe he’s almost a teen. *Gasp.*

  2. We do not celebrate half-birthdays…but it sounds like fun. This is full of beautiful images and I feel as though I’ve looked through a family picture album.

    1. Thanks KD:

      Sometimes when I am feeling dry, I look at favorite photographs. This one is truly one of my faves.

  3. This. Is. Gorgeous.

    Happy-Half to your boy.
    And to you, beautiful mama.

    The time it is a flying, isn’t it?
    Hold on.

    1. I am holding on, but time is whirling me around. And it’s getting faster. You didn’t tell me that was going to happen.

      Is he going to start hating on me soon?

      Oh, I hope not.

  4. 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 🙂

    1. TinyWolf:

      I know what you mean. That is just starting to happen around these parts. I’ve become a means of transportation.

  5. Lovely, beautiful ode to your sweet love!

    (We haven’t celebrated 1/2 birthdays at home, but seriously, why the heck not?!)

    Love this!

    1. Thanks Galit. My dude is so big. He’s all elbows and knees these days. No soft round parts to be found.

      Or that he’ll let me see anyway.

      At least he still lets me have fun on his 1/2 b’day.

  6. 🙂 tearing up … xxxR

  7. 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!

    1. I’ll be 44 and 1/2 in May.


      That sounds dumb.

      And scary.

        1. So true. I was just trying it out to see how it sounds. Kinda dumb.

  8. My half-birthday is St. Patrick’s Day, so I usually celebrate by drinking a green beer!

    1. Fabulous! I hope you write about that! 😉

  9. This is so lovely my friend. I just loved it.

  10. 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. 😉

  11. 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.

    1. He loves it. I have a little scavenger hunt I’m about ready to send him on.

  12. 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.

    1. Thanks Pam. I miss that baby boy’s cheeks, but there is always something new to celebrate. And because he is usually at overnight camp in the summer, we don’t always get to celebrate on the day. 😉

  13. 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. Tori: It is just so darn fast. What started off as so many hours of diapers and spit up and poop strung together has fast forwarded at warp speed.

      I’m trying to hold on.

  14. Omg, SO sweet! (the picture AND the poem) I love it! I’m thinking we SHOULD celebrate them now.

    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. 😉

  15. Aw, loved your poem (sniff sniff) I am tearing up. My son will be 9 and a half in March so let the waterworks begin now…

    1. Didn’t your mother tell you that the time would start to speed up? It’s crazy, right?

  16. 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.

    1. David: Just do what I do: Add five years.

      Because seriously, I look awesome for 48 and 1/2.

      No worries. 😉

      1. Good idea. I’ve been looking at this backwards. I look great for 74.

  17. Beautiful!!

    Happy Valentine’s Day, Renée!

    I think I’m going to have to start celebrating half birthdays…

    1. Thanks, Jules. I think we need more joy. More joy.

  18. So lovely. And that picture is painfully cute.

    Happy half to Tech, and Happy Valentine’s Day to YOU, love!

    1. Hard to believe that baby boy grew up to be Monkey and is now Tech Support. It’s killing me. So fast. Just you watch. You’ll see. *weep*

  19. A beautiful tribute, Renee. Today is my father’s half birthday, too.

    When, if ever, do we stop commemorating half-birthdays?

    1. Hi Jay.

      Cool to know your dad & my son share 1/2 b’days. I guess I’ll be looking for you in August, eh?

  20. We had a half birthday for my daughter one year since she was sick on her birthday and it was a blast!
    Happy half birthday to your son and Valentine’s Day!

    1. Thanks Susie. It’s been a crazy week around these parts. I hope you had a great VD. IYKWIM.

  21. 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!

    1. Hi Duffy. I don’t track my son in months — I’m no math teacher, but I am amazed at how fast the changes have come. He is not soft anymore. He is all angles and elbows and knees.

  22. You are a writer. Period. You could write the alphabet and make it beautiful.

    Celebrating a half with wholeness.


    And I don’t celebrate half birthdays. I barely celebrate anything…

    1. I like to send the boy on a scavenger hunt each year.

      I should blog about that for next year.

      You know, now.

      So I’m ready for VD 2013.

  23. 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?

    1. Sprinkles! Are you back? What do you mean ‘How am I?’ How are you?! I’m glad you caught this post. Monkey is Tech Support now. Soon he’ll be a teenager. I need you. 😉

      1. I’m fine. 🙂 I have no doubt that Tech Support will be a wonderful teenager, but if you have any questions, I’m here for you! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *