Yes – January and February are the months where everyone in the family (except me) has a birthday. It is a great time when we celebrate each other’s lives, take a night to eat special food, and get each other something to say that we love enough to know what we like. While there is a lot of “to do” about birthdays with balloons, cards, flowers, and oodles of presents, our family tends to focus more on the person and celebrating that person.
He and I had a rocky start. Unlike the girl (I knew I was pregnant nearly right away thanks to the amazing pregnancy sleuthing skills of my Gramma Lois), I had no idea that I was pregnant with the boy until I was about three months along. We even had to have an ultrasound to determine my due date. Like with the girl, the boy made me sick while pregnant…literally. And I spent considerable time on bed rest – not an easy feat with an under one year old crawling around the house (by the way, she learned to walk just in time for his delivery – just had to get a head start, girl?). Things did not really get better once he entered the world.
In fact, it was not uncommon for him to cry for eight to ten hours a day. This was very disconcerting for a 22 year old recent college graduate who already had another baby at her feet. What was I doing wrong? The boy had something to say, and he was going to say it whether I could understand him or not. When I did not understand him, he became frustrated and cried. The nursing students who lived on the opposite side of the building and one floor up from us could hear him crying. Many nights they would come down and offer to stay with him while the huz and I took a break and remembered that we were people too. They saved his life more than once, I think.
After three or four months, as predicted by the nurse practitioner and doctor who both coached the huz and I through this difficult time period, the boy stopped crying and smiled. Apparently some babies with colic (not a disease but a diagnosis of elimination) tend to get better once their facial muscles are strong enough to make faces. This was the case for our boy! Once he could facially communicate with us and see us responding to him, he became a joy.
The boy’s need to communicate, be understood, and be in relationship has persisted throughout his life. This is a rich aspect of his personality and makes him an excellent speaker, debater, and friend. As he has developed his own beliefs, ethics, and morals, our family has enjoyed many a debate. One occurred on a five hour car ride to visit a grandparent. Time flies when we argue!
The boy is a reader and a collector of “evidence.” When he comes across a new topic or book series, he devours the information related to it. He also has a comic side to this. Recently, he visited a bookstore and read a couple of books in a few hours. They were well below his reading level, but he had started the series when he was younger…and he just had to keep reading them to find out what would happen next. I love this about my boy!
Today is a scary day for me. This year is a scary year for me. The boy turns 15 today. Any day now he could start taking driver’s education classes. He has already had a summer job that has taken him away from me for most of the year. As with the girl, we are looking at colleges and trying to decide about college or high school classes for next year.
What happened to the cute little man with peach fuzz hair that stood up on the top of his head?
I know what has happened, and I am so proud to be part of the process. He has grown up. He has read, learned, conversed, thought, observed, and prayed his way to the young man that he is now. While I do not want to think about letting him walk out of the door and going into the world without my guidance (control), I think he so close to being able to do that. And it is a good thing that he is. Two years from today, I will have submitted financial aid forms to some college and will be readying the house for a graduation party.
Two years is not enough time to get him ready. And that is why the first 15 that we have covered are so important. No one told me back then to work toward this day, but somehow the huz and I have known to do that. Yes, we enjoyed the moments when they were little and have even forbidden them (as if) to grow up. But mostly we have just acted as if they are ours for the short term.
As much as that breaks my heart to say – because this is my son – I know that it is the right way to see it. He is not mine. He is the Lord’s. And some day, much sooner than I will want or willingly choose, God will ask my son to great things for him as God has prepared in advance for him to do.
“Regardless of how I feel about today, I want [the boy] to know that I am blessed to be [his] mother, I am proud of [him], and even if [he] does not think [he] needs it – I will always pray for [him].”
Happy Birthday, boy!