You’re ten years old now. 10. However you say it, type it, write it…you’re a whole decade old. Wow. That’s really hard to believe. Each new year is hard to believe because to me…as the saying goes…you are still my first baby, my newborn, my toddler, my kindergartner. I have to start accepting that you are also my boy growing into a Young Man. It’s not always easy with you, I’ll have you know. You and I…we… clash more than me and Sister. You challenge me in ways I didn’t know were possible. But you also love me in ways I didn’t know were possible. You still have a desire to pretty much be as close to me as possible, and while sometimes a Mama just wants her space…I take a breath…and try to soak in the moments with your breath in my ear, your weight on my belly, my hand tickling your back. One day you will reject my arms, I know, and retreat to your room and then I’ll go into my room and cry….but I can only hope somehow that these moments will be instilled into your being, as I can still hear the gurgling of my mother’s stomach as I laid my head in her lap and felt her tears fall on my neck as she read us Where The Red Fern Grows.
You and me, Son….we’re more alike than maybe what’s first suspected by the outside. So often it’s Your Sister who gets the ‘just like Mom’ references…and while that’s true…you and me, we clash because we both pretty much know we’re always right. And when someone DARE suggest otherwise, we both fight till the end to prove our point. You’re much more pointed and less emotional than I; you’re just relentless in your absolute defiance to accept otherwise.(Use these powers for good as you get older, please.) I get too heated, too teary, I feel it too much and usually take personal offense when I feel alone on my own island. (Which is most of the time.) But that’s okay, Son. You do you. I’ll do me. Because each time the heat starts to rise and the tempers may flare, we always come back to one another. We always come back to that sofa, with your breath in my ear, your weight on my belly, my hand tickling your back. We always come back.
We’ve had a hard year here in the Gelato House. Our hearts have all been hurting. But you keep me going, Son. You keep ready to face the day; you keep a smile on my face, gratitude in my heart, peace in my soul. Sometimes, Life forces us to grow up a little faster than seems fair, but you have handled it all so well while continuing to grow into a Fine Young Man. And while I certainly wish that you could brush your teeth without somehow managing to get toothpaste….pretty much everywhere (how?)….and I could do without the daily reminders to please eat over your plate….and you know where the damn glasses are, get your own water….and for GOD’S SAKE PLEASE STOP FIGHTING WITH YOUR SISTER….you are pretty solid for usually putting your laundry away, taking a shower without first engaging in an epic battle, doing your homework with little complaint and giving me a break on the math because you know I’m just a lost little puppy dog. I have to say thanks for always being respectful to your teachers, kind to your friends, and…only when it really counts…a good buddy to Sister. Because one day, and I know this sounds CRAZY-the two of you really will be good buddies. One day, I hope you both have bustling households filled with love. And, it must be said-may you have one hell of a stubborn Offspring, Son, so Grandma can sit back and smile. And probably laugh. Okay, smirk. I’ll be smirking.
You’re pretty much the greatest thing that every happened to me, Son, because you made me a Mama. (Don’t let that go to your head, though.) And while you were laying on my belly last night giving me an extremely detailed and surprisingly lengthy play by play of a football game that happened 3 years ago, I still saw that baby face looking back up at me.
I just bet I’ll see it forever.
I love you to the moon and back. And back again. (And again.)
Happy 10th birthday.