Benedict Turns Three!!!

We had a simple day. We made a cake, chocolate wacky cake with almonds. All the kids licked the bowl. We ordered pizza for dinner. Ben got a fruit basket from Grandma and Grandad in Texas. We had video chats with Auntie Tree and with Grandma B. and Auntie Francesca. We lit candles, sang happy birthday, ate cake, opened presents. Ben and Sophie played with his new backhoe loader. We read Ben’s new books. We said our prayers and went to bed.

Benedict's 3rd birthday with presents and cake
Presents! Cake!

I was out of wrapping paper except for Christmas and wedding stuff. So for Ben’s presents I made wrapping paper out of big pieces of butcher paper that the kids had painted on. Very happy, very green and now I don’t feel guilty for throwing them away because they have served a purpose.

Benedict's 3rd birthday with presents and cake

Benedict's 3rd birthday with presents and cake
I just love that face!

Benedict's 3rd birthday with presents and cake
Hooray for cake! I love Ben’s happy, flappy hands. This is how you know he’s happy: his hands just won’t be still.

Benedict's 3rd birthday with presents and cake
Three candles…

Benedict's 3rd birthday with presents and cake
More happy hands as everyone sings…

Benedict's 3rd birthday with presents and cake
No hesitation about the candles this year.

Benedict's 3rd birthday with presents and cake
Before we even cut the cake, we moved on to opening the presents. Priorities.

Benedict's 3rd birthday with presents and cake
This book came highly recommended by Melissa Wiley’s vehicle-loving three year old.

Benedict's 3rd birthday with presents and cake
Notice that Ben went for the books first, before he even tackled the big present he was sure was a firetruck. I am succeeding in raising a pack of bookworms.

Benedict's 3rd birthday with presents and cake
You can’t see the title, but this one is Otis and the Tornado, the exciting sequel to Loren Long’s much beloved Otis. Ben was ecstatic. Bella did not love the tornado.

Benedict's 3rd birthday with presents and cake

Benedict's 3rd birthday with presents and cake

Benedict's 3rd birthday with presents and cake
I don’t think he was too disappointed that it wasn’t a firetruck. Sophie almost immediately began asking when he would be done playing with it so she could have a turn. Amazingly, within minutes he handed it over for her to try out. Such a generous soul he is! They had to take a break for cake and then the two of them rushed out to the sandbox to try it out.

Benedict's 3rd birthday with presents and cake
No, not disappointed at all. My truck-loving boy.

Benedict's 3rd birthday with presents and cake

Happy, happy birthday, my Benedict. You are such a blessing to us all. May God bring us many, many, many happy returns of the day!



9 Responses to Benedict Turns Three!!!

  1. Emily (Reading While Female) July 11, 2012 at 8:31 am #

    Hi there. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I absolutely love what you’re doing here. Your interpretations of Eliot and your focus on short passages are so detailed, nuanced, and insightful. You’ve got me thinking about The Waste Land all over again.
    As for this passage, I have to agree with you about memory and desire. It reminds me a bit of the woman in the first section who remembers going sledding up in the mountains. The lines “I knew nothing, Looking into the heart of light, the silence” remind me a lot of The Four Quartets and the heart of light at the still point of the turning world. So much of the Quartets is about reconciling time with the timeless. I wonder if this attempt to reconcile the past with the present via memory is an early version of that tension?
    I will absolutely be back to read the rest of your posts soon. Keep up the amazing work!

  2. Mary July 12, 2012 at 9:16 am #

    I looked it up, and interestingly, the hyacinth can symbolize everything from constancy, forgiveness, sorrow, or jealousy. Fitting for your interpretation and the Tristan and Isolde source text.

  3. Melanie Bettinelli July 13, 2012 at 8:27 am #

    Thanks, Emily, I’m so glad you stopped by and left a comment. I am having so much fun writing these—even if I am only doing them at the rate of once a month or so—it is a joy to really dig into the poem. Reading your blog entry on reading poetry actually helped me to get over the hump and overcome the mental roadblock I was having over these lines. You are so right about how research can really open doors. Just going back to read a bit of Wagner made the Eliot new again.

    I agree that the speaker here is reminiscent of the woman reminiscing about sledding.

    Good call about “the heart of light” in The Four Quartets. There is definitely a similarity between what he is doing at the beginning of Burnt Norton and here with the theme of memory and perhaps the idea of conquering time.

    Please do come back and keep commenting! It’s nice to have someone else reading who knows Eliot well.

  4. Melanie Bettinelli July 13, 2012 at 8:37 am #

    Mary, I can definitely see how those various traditional meanings all arise from the legend of Apollo and Hyacinthus. First Zepheryus’ jealous leads to Hyacinthus’ death. Apollo’s sorrow leads him to transform the dead youth into a flower, and the yearly reappearance of that flower is a symbol of the constancy of Apollo’s love. It is interesting to see how the two stories explore those themes of love, jealousy, sorrow, constancy, forgiveness.

  5. Julie D. July 16, 2012 at 1:19 am #

    Melanie, I don’t know how I missed your series but am so happy to have discovered it now. I’m up to part 5 … and am enjoying it immensely, as someone who is not a poetry lover and who is completely intimidated by The Wasteland. Thank you! grin

  6. Melanie Bettinelli July 16, 2012 at 3:37 am #

    Julie, I’m happy you discovered it too! Given that I’m still at the beginning of Part I of a five part poem, you are really just arriving during the cocktail hour, despite the fact that I’ve been nibbling away at it for seven months now. We’ve got hours of partying left to do!

    I was really hoping to be able to approach this series in such a way as to help make this intimidating poem accessible to non-poetry lovers and also to be able to converse with those who know Eliot well and adore him as I do. So far from the feedback I’ve gotten it seems to be working.

  7. Katherine July 18, 2012 at 9:07 am #

    I’m sorry I’m late getting to your post, and a baby-brained comment at that, but here goes:

    It seems to me this passage, along the lines of what you said, are about losing someone you love. She is neither dead nor alive because she breathes but feels nothing but grief. Looking into the light, silence could very well be staring at death, seemingly “desolate and empty”. I think the hyacinth reference could be a little gift to the readers, as an Easter/Spring flower, that this desolate, empty state is not hopeless nor the end. I believe you said there was a theme of redemption – it seems this passage could be building towards that.

  8. Manny July 18, 2012 at 9:08 am #

    I’ve always associated the hyacinth girl with Ophilia from Hamlet.  I’m not sure why any longer.  I have to reread Hamlet to see why I thought that.

    I’m caught up!

  9. Melanie Bettinelli July 29, 2012 at 9:44 am #

    That is an interesting association. I can see how the figures have a very similar sort of resonance. Ophelia is definitely associated with flowers, though I don’t think hyacinths are one of the specific ones mentioned either by her or in Gertrude’s speech about her death. And that feeling of her being caught between two worlds and not having the words to suit the situation.

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