To our Older Son:
Eighteen years ago today, you were born. It was not only the first day of summer and the longest day of the year in a sunlight-to-moonlight ratio kind of way, but also, as we’ve told you many times while grinning from ear to ear, the longest day of our lives up to that point.
You weren’t the easiest baby, either. Of course, we could have had it way worse but you used to cry and cry for seemingly no reason at all. And then there was that issue regarding your not tolerating being held by anybody except for me, for months. That includes your father who, bless his heart, used to hold you and care for you for the four hours a day, three days per week, that I was gone at my part-time job: not an easy feat for anyone, considering you wailed the entire time. It was enough to give him a complex, but thank goodness the crying stopped after many months and you became his buddy.
Thank goodness, also, that you looked like an angel, because the mental picture of how adorable you were was something helpful to remember when you were screaming your head off.
When you were nearly three, your younger brother came along. You looked after him from the beginning, and one of your favorite things to do was make him laugh. (He may not always find you as funny these days, but that’s pretty normal.) I’m so glad we had all of those photo sessions on the couch back then. This picture takes me back immediately.
Though the two of you are very competitive when it comes to growing (odd that you have chosen to compete on the basis of something you can’t control, but who am I to step in?), I keep telling you that you both already measure up.
In the old days, we used to tell you on your birthday that you were *insert number here* years away from eighteen, which was how long you had to Get. Out. Of. Our. House. We were joking but only sort of: we wanted to make it clear that you would indeed be expected to have a plan for starting your independent adult life, and now you do. You’re off to college in just a couple of short months and, if I have to be honest, a big part of me–though I know this is supposed to happen and you can’t live here forever and you have such an exciting future ahead of you–wants you to stay. Really, really badly.
But obviously, you can’t. And so these days your Dad and I spend lots of time thinking about the awesome person you have become and dreaming about the success you are bound to have, because you are a hard worker, even though you procrastinate worse than practically anyone. Sorry about that one, too.
As we all enter this new stage of your life together, your Dad and I feel good about turning you and your infectious smile loose onto the world. We never imagined that eighteen years could go by so quickly, but this really isn’t the “end” of anything but a phase in life. As Phase One of parenting you draws to a close today, we can’t wait to see what the beginning of Phase Two brings. If it’s half as exciting and rewarding as Phase One, we’ll consider ourselves tremendously blessed.
Happy, happy birthday. We love you very much!
©2010 Suburban Scrawl