So many before me have tried to describe the depths of a mother’s love. There aren’t words that can adequately do the concept justice. It is unlike any other emotion I’ve ever felt. The moment my oldest son’s existence was revealed to me my heart skipped several beats, my hands got clammy, and a knot formed in my throat. All at once I was elated, terrified, overjoyed, petrified, and ecstatic. ¬†To have felt that fusion of emotions more than once is humbling and I’ll never take for granted the experiences. The only thing more exhilarating were the moments the children I carried under my heart were placed in my arms. The HaysBros have forever changed my life. Today marks 14 years since the first time I felt HaysBro1’s heart beat against mine.

It’s still unnerving that after 14 years and for the rest of John’s and my lives everything we experience with HB1 will be a first for all three of us. So it’s only fair that our hearts and minds weigh with whether or not we’re raising a responsible, compassionate, and contributing member to society. So far, I think it’s safe to say we’re on the right track. He helps around the house, sets a good example for his younger brother (HB2), and is always willing to help those in need if it’s within his abilities.

Men are what their mothers made them.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

HB1 is an empath. He feels for others and always takes their feelings into consideration. He would never knowingly hurt someone or slight them. So, when his 13th birthday rolled around last year I was taken aback when he said “NO PARTY”. We haven’t celebrated every single birthday with parties. Our lifestyle just doesn’t allow for it. So when I get a chance to throw one for them I try to make it extra special. 13 would be his last birthday in a community he’d grown to love. I assumed he’d want to celebrate with friends from school and Boy Scouts with whom he’d bonded so closely. I mean, if I’d known I might have taken more pictures at his 12th. Or at least soak in each smile, or ordered more pizza, hired a DJ? I don’t know. You gotta warn a momma!

This year as his birthday rolled around I didn’t bother asking if he’d like to reserve lanes at the bowling alley or rent space at the pool. Instead, I asked where he’d like to eat for dinner or if there was something special he’d like prepared. He had no problem listing off breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Though I’m sure he could have put away a chorizo and egg breakfast, followed by lunch at Vato’s, and his daddy’s mesquite chicken dinner, the rest of us would NOT have survived. We compromised and we’ll spread each of his favorites out over the rest of the week.

Then, as HB1 likes to say, “Plot twist”. In conversation with our next door neighbor I tell her about his dream foodie birthday. Just to give her a heads up as she has two boys who are about the same age difference as mine. They’re 10 mos and 3 yrs old. Her day will come when food is the way to their hearts too. Well, the 3yo hears us talking and gets super excited about a — TUN tun TUN— PARTY. I never mentioned a party just birthday. Well to a 3 yo BIRTHDAY = PARTY = CAKE.

So, I come home and ask HB1 if he’d mind if we grabbed some cupcakes so our buddy could come sing to him. He said “no problem”. In jest I asked him if there was a certain theme he wanted me to stick with. He grinned and says “I guess Spider Man”. Spider Man has been a HaysWays fave since HB1 was 3 yr old himself and our buddy next door has taken quite a shining to him too. I grinned back and asked if i could take it a little further with napkins or any decor I might find. He consented and that’s all it took.


I went into Party Planning Mom Mode. I thought it was hard planning parties for him growing up! He’s always picked themes that haven’t hit mainstream yet. Now, here I am in a foreign country where apparently you have to give the commissary 4 – 5 days as opposed to 24 hrs for a special order cake. No biggie, I’ve done this before.

“Don’t worry, Ms. Cake Decorator Lady. Just decorate it with the frosting design and I’ll take care of the rest!”

I race to the PX and find the perfect toys to top his cake with. Spider Man and Doc Oc, coincidentally the same characters that embellished his 3 yr old birthday party cake. I asked him once more if he’d like to invite any of his new friends and he declined. It was clear that he was doing this for his little buddy and his sentimental mom. ¬†Tonight was the last party I plan for him for a while. There will be other milestones that he won’t be able to stop me from celebrating, but themed birthday parties for HB1 have come to an end. He was compassionate, gracious, and on this birthday gifted his momma closure.

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