He was born quickly, shortly after I arrived at the hospital. Always easygoing, he’d wake from his naps cheerful and smiling. Many times I'd go into his room to see if he was up yet, and I’d find him happily playing in the crib but delighted to see me.
So many memories…
When he was sitting in a high chair eating ice cream and my dad would tease that he was going to steal what was on his spoon, he’d freely offer his spoonful to his grandpa. He was always a generous boy.
The time he drew up a flip chart -- a la Ross Perot -- to show us why he deserved an increase in his allowance. He got it, but mostly for his creative effort.
When he was seven and he made his first New Year’s Resolution to not complain about any meal I made for dinner, which was my suggestion. I remember making all his favorite meals the first few weeks and by mid-year when he still hadn’t broken it I contemplated serving liver and onions on a daily basis. Nearing the end of the year he admitted he couldn’t wait to have this year over with so he could be done with it, and I told him that if he’d made it a year, it was a permanent accomplishment and that would then be his way of life. He kept it the whole year and never complained again. As proud of him as I was that year, I was envious that I’d never kept a resolution for an entire year.
Sharing a big bowl of popcorn after school while we chatted about his day.
Stalling before bedtime…with a capital S.
Signing up to take a sign-language class in middle school so he could converse with a deaf friend in his class. Using his skills to make another deaf friend on the beach the following summer.
The first time he emailed me from his room to ask, “What’s for dinner?”
His willingness to let me play Celine Dion's songs on long car rides because he knows I love her music.
When we were cross-country skiing as a family and, as usual, his dad and older brother had moved on to more challenging trails without us. He always hung back and skied with me, until the day he turned around and said, “You’re doing great, Mom. Keep it up.” I told him to go catch up with the guys and pretty much skied alone after that. Although I’d lost his companionship on the trails, I gained a quiet admiration for the beauty of the winter wilderness in the woods of Woodstock, Vermont. And as was right and proper, he moved out of my clutches into the world.
Using my knowledge of computers to teach him stuff, and the day I realized he knew more than me. And his endless help ever since.
The day he told us he was going to move to China for a year to learn Mandarin, and the visit we shared there near the end of his stay. His language skills were impressive. Obviously, it was a year well spent.
Today, knowing he wants to live there at some point makes me pause. It’s so far away, and I’ll miss him so much. After all, he’ll always be my baby -- no matter his age.
But I’ll always be happy for him -- wherever he goes and whatever he does.
Happy birthday, with love.