Happy birthday, son. Ok, to be fair, you turned eleven last week – Tuesday, to be exact. You’ve been asking me all week if I’ve finished your birthday blog yet. I just haven’t been up to it, what with the drama around here lately. However, I’m proud to say I pulled off the actual birthday celebration without missing a beat. I learned that lesson the year you turned five. A few weeks before your birthday I wrecked our van. Let me put that in context. I’d been a stay-at-home mom WITHOUT A CAR since you were born. Five years, son. FIVE YEARS. Then, one bright shining day, we scraped together the money to buy a ratty old van. Three weeks later I smashed it to smithereens. You cannot imagine what that felt like. So. I scaled back the great big “Secret Club” themed birthday party we’d been planning for you.
I heard about that FOR YEARS.
You don’t let go of things easily.
Which brings us back to the fact that you’ve been waiting for your birthday blog. Honestly, son, I don’t think I’ve ever written under more pressure. I’m edging into a new era. Once upon a time I could write whatever I wanted to here about the cute and wonderful things you do. This world was so separate from your world that I never thought about what you would think of what I was writing.
I don’t have that luxury anymore.
There are more and more people in my life who read what I write here. It’s like every year I blog I get to learn more about telling the truth with love. You, my firstborn, are my toughest audience yet. I would throw my computer into the ocean before I would hurt you or make you uncomfortable with my words. But this, here, is what I do. I write about my life. And you are a huge part of my life. So here goes.
Your birthday party this year was at this place.
This is just one small corner of the bedlam. Can I describe the noise?
No. I cannot.
It wasn’t just the SOUNDS, you know, it was the LIGHTS and the COLORS and the CHILREN RACING AROUND AT TOP SPEEDS. You loved it. You glided around on your new Heelys, laughing and shouting at things with your friends. I find that often these days the things you enjoy most are the things that make my eye twitch just a little.
You’re somewhat wild.
In part I blame your dad, who not only went to camp with you and let you do stuff like this…
…he thought it was as cool as you did.
I think that’s one of the reasons I’m enjoying the Harry Potter books so much. You’ve just discovered them, and after you read one of the books, I read it. So much of your life is foreign to me, and it’s very nice to have some common ground. I love it when you peer at me over your book and say, “Ooooooh, I WISH I could tell you…”
I am so thrilled that you have something to say to me, that I struggle to remind you that it’s not nice to give away the ending of a book. But then I get to read the book, and we can talk about it. Can I tell you how much I enjoy that?
No. I cannot.
Also? I have to say…although I know you’ll hate this…
You are the cutest eleven year old baseball player in the world.
Sorry. I mean “cute” in a very tough, almost menacing way. Really.
When you were a baby I watched your every developmental step so very closely. And so I don’t understand how it happened that you’re suddenly eleven, and so BIG. I was WATCHING. They told me not to blink, and I didn’t…but you seem to be growing up anyhow. And just as I kept saying then, when I was certain that you were at your cutest when you could sit up…until you learned to crawl, and then THAT was the best age…and then you learned to walk, and THAT was the best age…
Here you are, an enormous manchild who clomps around the house like an elephant. The top of your head comes up to my nose and you casually discuss books you’ve read and snakes you’ve caught. You are interested and interesting, and you are learning so fast that you make me feel old and mentally feeble. You run with a crowd that is just as bombastic as you. I don't understand a one of you. I do know one thing:
This, sweet son, is the very best age yet.