Happy unBirthday, dear granddaughter!

It’s been one of my life’s greatest joys to live near my youngest son, Ben, his wife, Briana, and their children, Grandson Addison and Granddaughter Drew.

From shortly after the kiddos were born until they reached the age when they could go to preschool – about two years old – I was privileged to be their “Granny Nanny.” I have not only had the pleasure of watching them grow and learn, but have established a closeness with them that fills my heart. We’ve established traditions that I’ve worked to maintain. One of those traditions is that each year for each child’s birthday, their gift from me is a day of shopping followed by an overnight at Gran’s house. It’s always been great fun for me and, I think, for them.

Since Addison’s birthday falls just before Christmas, we usually have our birthday outing sometime during the week after Christmas, although it’s sometimes been as late as mid-January. Drew, however, was born in June, shortly before my own birthday. That has always meant we could plan her birthday treat some time during our shared birthday week.

Until this year: The Year of COVID-19. Which was closely followed by my son’s diagnosis of liver cancer. Needless to say, there have been no overnights due to my current lack of sleeping space, and COVID has been preventing me from wanting to go into a mall for shopping or a restaurant for lunch.

Drew has been extraordinarily patient – not at all the way I was at age 11 – and we decided several weeks ago that part of her belated celebration would be to watch “Hamilton” together – her choice. Last week we planned to celebrate in two parts, since we couldn’t have an overnight, and that we would start this weekend. So this morning, her dad brought her to my house for Drew’s unBirthday, Part I.

First, we made and decorated cupcakes – because what’s a party without cake? Besides, her uncle had wanted white cake and I had bought a mix and some icing. After deciding what colors we wanted for the frosting, Drew and I went to work.

While the cupcakes baked, we shopped online for her very late birthday presents. She already knew what she wanted – books – so we cranked up MeowWolf.com for the first one, then over to Amazon.com for three more. She’ll be getting books for the next four days, and she kept her purchases within her birthday budget. As an added bonus, our Amazon purchases resulted in a donation to my church.

After the cupcakes had cooled, we created some vibrantly-colored deliciousness – a few for us to have here and the rest for her to take home and share with her family. Of course Uncle Martin will have his share, too!

After all our hard work, we fixed lunch and plopped down in the family room to start watching “Hamilton.” We only made it about halfway through. before it was time to take my girl home to get ready for her cousin’s fourth birthday party. Neither of us minded too much because it just means that we’ll have another day together to finish watching the show!

When we got to her house, she told her parents that she had gotten four books and made cupcakes for her unBirthday – and that she’d gotten a “birthday President.”

Funny. Smart. Creative. Curious. Loving. Compassionate. That’s my girl. I’m blessed in so many ways.