After being distracted for, uh, a while, it finally dawned on me to check when exactly Buddha’s birthday falls. I’m almost ashamed to admit that it was completely in response to Brianna coming home from daycare (Our Lady of Grace Childcare Centre to be exact) and talking about Jesus and Easter. I suddenly became aware that other people were teaching my child about religion and I wasn’t. This wasn’t a particularly happy feeling. Anywho, I finally looked up the dates and found that Buddha’s birthday was yesterday.
Brianna was at her grandparent’s house with her Dad having Easter dinner at the time.
That was the moment I first realized that single parenthood can truly suck. I doubt it will be the last.
So I did what any desperate parent would do: I decided to celebrate it tonight. For all my years as a Buddhist, I really don’t know what comprises a Buddha’s birthday celebration. I remember offerings of food and tea, and bathing baby Buddha with sweet tea. In short, I remember what we did at the monastery, but that doesn’t really answer the question of how to celebrate it here, at home, with myself and my child.
Fortunately, Markham’s Asian community came through. I found an inkin for $33 (wow!), so Brianna got to ring the bell. She rang it a lot, but that was okay. I offered incense, sweet tea in a lovely offering cup from the same store as provided the inkin, and a still-warm-from-the-oven egg tart. We then bathed a tiny Buddha in sweet tea—I think Bri liked that part. The altar was adorned with fresh tulips.
Then, Brianna got some gifts to open, because it’s Buddha’s birthday and she’s a Buddha, so she gets birthday presents too. Or something like that. She got some hair clips (Cinderella even), a lovely child-size pair of chopsticks, and “Charlotte’s Web” on DVD. I got a Hello Kitty cell phone dongle cuz I’m a Buddha too. We ordered Japanese for dinner and watched the movie. Honestly, I thought she was going to insist on singing Happy Birthday, which would have been alright. Fortunately, she forgot about the balloons that she mentioned when I first picked her up from school. “You have to have balloons and cake for a birthday party Mommy.”
All went well until the movie was over. Then Brianna let loose with lovely temper tantrum. She misses her daddy and his absence is hitting her hard, so she does what any four-year-old does and acts out. Hitting mommy netted her a time out. She took two (including an unpleasant bathroom break) time outs to calm down. Then we had a kiss goodnight, and after I rubbed her back for awhile, she finally went to sleep.
It was a lovely rollercoaster ride of an evening, with love and snuggles and tears and crying. And it was just perfect.
Happy belated birthday Buddha!
Accomplished today: 20 minutes on the elliptical trainer before work. Yay me!