It’s his birthday today. My only son’s birthday. He is 8 now. How time flies…
When we asked him what he wanted for his birthday, he mentioned hundred requests. Being young and innocent. He asked for a toy he had been asking for a half year. He asked for us going somewhere together just the three of us. He asked for a sushi dinner at his favorite restaurant. He asked for a play time at Timezone. He asked for a birthday celebration at school. We told him he couldn’t have it all and he had to choose one. We told him we couldn’t afford all of those things he asked for. What we didn’t tell him was we would have given him all if we could afford it. You can call us a spoiling parents but we just don’t care. On this particular day of the year, everything doesn’t seem enough for our only child.
Hikari seemed to understand that and chose to have a birthday celebration at his school only. The celebration was only a lunch gathering together with his classmates and teachers. No fancy souvenirs or big party. His consideration was his friends had known about his birthday and he would feel bad if he didn’t celebrate it together with his friends. An 8-year old talking about feeling bad…
A few weeks before his birthday, Hikari had a new prayer to say. We never teach him what to ask to God whenever he prays. This time he took longer time to pray when he did Sholat and when he said his prayers before bed time.
One night after praying he rubbed his face solemnly. We asked him what he prayed for but he just smiled. My 8-to-be years old son smiled hiding his secrets. When he was ready to sleep, I cuddled him. I asked him what he asked for for his birthday. And from his little mouth he said…
“I prayed that you and Papap are given a lot of blessings from God so you can buy me the presents and the birthday party I want.”
I was speechless.
Hikari seemed to realize the effect of his saying to me. He hugged me and said, “It is just a prayer, Ma…”
A week before his birthday, an email came to my inbox. My editor told me that my 3rd novel was ready to launch. I went home feeling grateful because finally the long-awaited novel would soon be out there. On the way home, I visited an ATM for a regular visit. Suddenly the number on the ATM screen made my heart stopped. There it was the amount of money I was impossible to have in the middle of a month! The downpayment of my book had been transferred! It had never happened before! I usually had to wait more than a week to have the DP transferred!
I never say that I don’t believe in prayers. I just never think of my prayers twice. I am that kind of person who believes blessings come from hardwork. I work hard and the payment of my hardwork will be received by the end of the month. It’s that predictable.
So, I went home to Hikari and Papap. Hikari still said the same prayers that night. But that night I knew that his prayers had been answered.
You might say that any child doesn’t need to be showered with unnecessary gifts. And birthday party would probably just a waste of money. And showing love with money is not educating.
Somehow, those are not in context in my case.
When the money earned is by hardwork and the work professed is not the most prestigious job in the world, a once in a year treat is all you can afford to have. Even then, the treat has to be choosen carefully. So we chose.
A few days before the birthday, Papap secretly bought Hikari the toy he had been dreaming about for almost a half year. This morning when we left the house for work, we told si embak to put the gift on his bed so he could find it when he got home. Later that evening, si embak reported how trully happy he was when found his gift. When I got home, Hikari ran to my car and laughing happily saying thank you, thank you, and thank you hundred of times. When Papap got home, he hugged him dearly.
The three of us ended today by singing happy birthday. I bought him a small birthday cake with a candle on top of it. He finished his prayer by mumbling to me how kind Allah was to him.
I was and am in peace.