Madiyar turned 14 yesterday...what a difference a year makes. Here's what he tells us he did on his 13th birthday in Kazakhstan: the older boys in his boarding school helped him sneak out of the 2nd floor window and into the woods of Ridder for a party to celebrate his becoming a teenager. He says the boys stole money from some of the teachers' purses to buy food and drinks. They gave him vodka and taught him how to huff gasoline...he says he saw lions chasing him and he was scared...but it was the celebration they gave him to mark his rite of passage into manhood.
Yesterday, our oldest son celebrated his fourteenth birthday, the first since he joined our family...and it was all about giving him back some childhood. Ever since he arrived, Madiyar has been taking note of the birthday rituals observed by our family and asking me if he, too, would get the special treatment that his brothers and sisters have gotten. He's been increasingly excited as his special day approached and he's loved the little perks of the birthday child in our house. As such, he did the following:
Made a birthday wish list and hung it on the fridge for all to see weeks in advance
Revised said list frequently as he came up with more wishes
Got to choose the menu for his birthday dinner (he picked takeout Chinese)
Checked the mailbox each day to see if he got birthday cards addressed just to him (he did)
Chose the type and flavor of birthday cake complete with his name on it
Received a gift as soon as he woke up in the morning (soccer shin guards)
Sat in the specially decorated birthday seat of honor at our dining table
Blew out the candles and enjoyed presents from all of us after dinner
Tried out his new roller blades even though it was dark outside
Got one last gift right before bed (comic books)
Got a hug from Mom and leftover birthday cake for breakfast the next morning!
And tomorrow, we'll all head to Roller Palace for Madiyar's birthday party. He's invited a friend from school and his brothers and sisters. He even had a celebration at school in honor of his first b-day in America; his ELL class brought in treats, made him cards, and decorated the room with streamers. Someone gave him a cool new soccer ball...he was grinning from ear to ear at the end of the day.
It should be noted that there was no vodka or gasoline involved in this birthday and the boy was in bed shortly after 10pm...but he was allowed to read one of his new comic books. Pretty tame stuff compared with a year ago but he didn't seem to mind. I think he's waited a lifetime to be spoiled a bit...and he told me recently that he doesn't want to grow up too fast. Smart kid, isn't he?