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No foolin’: When April 1 changed for me

April Fool’s Day can be a very silly day. Growing up, my friends and I would try to trick each other all day long, yearning for that opportunity to exclaim, “April Fools!” In our preteen and early teen years, the pranks were occasionally as prickly as they were funny.

I’ve seen and heard of some really great April Fool’s jokes. There are occasionally bogus stories in the news media (portable zip codes anyone?), and almost always a gag or two on the local college campuses. In one job I had, we joked that one April Fool’s Day we should replace all the motivational posters on the walls with cynical versions and see how long until upper management noticed. Occasionally, my husband has really tricked me into believing something or other; he has a great poker face.Since the mid-90s, however, I’ve been a little more careful about how I approach the day. Sure it can be silly and fun, but I am cautious about going too far. My son’s birthday is on April 1.From the time he was born, four minutes into April, I’ve responded, “No foolin’!” when acquaintances ask if April 1 really and truly is Alfs’ birthday. We joked that his birthday, at least, would be easy to remember. I also sensed that we’d need to take care getting him through the adolescent years with such a memorable day for a birthday, a day that could be the brunt of too many jokes.Now, I don’t want to create an issue where there is none, but I don’t want to miss the message as an issue, either. We’ve entered the much anticipated pre-adolescent phase and last year already Alfs came home from somewhere saying that someone didn’t believe that April 1 was his birthday, that they thought it was a joke. I spent a few minutes making sure he was okay. He can be sensitive — just like his mom — and I didn’t and don’t want him to start thinking that he is the joke for having such a birthday. He most certainly is no joke. He is my deeply loved and wonderful first born child. His life, his existence changed my whole outlook on the world.We may still make light jokes on April Fool’s Day, but we do not, under any circumstance, joke about things birthday-related. From Alfs’ birth day on, April 1 became much more than a joke day for me. It was the day I became a mom, and there’s nothing foolish about that.

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