Today is my son's eleventh birthday.
For the past week, I have been buying, hiding, and wrapping presents, getting miscellaneous cheap toys and candy ready for the goody bags, calling hither and yon to make sure the cake is ordered, the pizza will be delivered, etc etc etc, in preparation for his big party on Friday night. All the while thinking...and remembering...and dreaming...and crying.
Twelve years ago, I was 24. Young, idealistic, madly in love with my husband of three years. We talked about having a family and how we'd like to maybe get pregnant around September sometime. Then the baby would be born in the summer, and wouldn't that be great? Um, yeah. First parenting decision that wouldn't happen like we thought it would. We got pregnant in April. Right after our anniversary. Two weeks after me starting a new job. With new insurance. Yeah.
I remember in mid-May feeling very tired all the time. I couldn't get enough sleep or drink enough caffeine to keep me halfway functioning while I was awake. I was only about a week late for my period so I wasn't thinking that this fatigue could be caused by SOMETHING! IMPORTANT! A friend of mine said one day, "Well, are you pregnant?" Light bulb went on...Duh? Could I be? Well, I suppose. But see, we were planning to get pregnant in September, remember? So off I went to buy the pregnancy test that very day at lunch time. My husband was at home for lunch that day too, so while he was resting on our bed, I went into the bathroom and took the test. I remember coming out and sitting down by him and saying, "What are we gonna do if it's positive?"
His response: It's not positive.
Me: How do you know?
Him: I just do.My man? Is currently working for the Psychic Friends Network.
So after the three minute waiting period, I went to check. There were two lines. And they were pink. Now, I don't mean faintly pink. I don't mean a pastelly pink that could possibly mean yes or no. I mean, two neon pink lines that could be seen from space. I grabbed the test and brought it out to Him Who Is Still Lying On The Bed And Not Acting Like Our World Is About To Change Forever And Ever Amen. I was laughing and crying and shaking, waving the test around like a magic wand, and babbling, "Honey, look! It's positive! We're pregnant!"
His response: It's Not Positive.
Him: What do the two pink lines mean?
Me: (getting really mad now)
Him: Did you do the test right?
Me: Honey, I had to pee on a stick. If I didn't do the test right, I have no business reproducing.
(sidenote: Approximately 8.5 yrs later, when I got pregnant the second time? He again asked me if I did the test right. Apparently, he thinks my mental status may have declined in the interim.)
At the ultrasound when we were going to find out what our little person was, I just had this knowing, this maternal instinct that I had heard so much about...I KNEW I WAS HAVING A GIRL! Because, see, here's the deal. Of course God would give me a girl first because hello? I am a girl. I know about girl stuff. I would have so much fun with a girl. I could dress her all in pink and take her shopping and paint her nails and she would look just like I did as a child. Oh, what fun my girl and I would have.
(sidenote: Alison? Looks nothing like me. Not even remotely. The End.)
Imagine my surprise when the tech said, "You are having a boy." No way, I said. Did you do the test right? The tech looked at me and said, "I don't know that I have ever seen a little guy who is so intent on showing us exactly who he is during an ultrasound
." My son. The exhibitionist. So. Okay. Yeah. A boy. I am going to have a little boy. What do I know about little boys? Nothing! They are loud and sticky and noisy and like dirt and frogs and trucks, and Oh, Lord, what were You thinking?
Can I just tell you what He was thinking? He was thinking He would bless me in spite of myself, that's what He was thinking.
Let me tell you a little about my boy.My boy is intelligent
. Not only book smart, but common sense smart. He doesn't always use the common sense portion of our program, but it's there. I have seen it. He gets honor roll grades, has a 98% in spelling for the year, and is a voracious reader. He has written about four books that are actually very good. Mom just needs to find a publisher now. He also did about 38 illustrated books about an alien named...well, Alien...before he could even write. The stories chronicle Alien's adventures with his friends and cousins. And draw? This kid can draw like nobody's business. A talent he did not get from his mother.My boy is funny
. His sense of humor and dry wit are far beyond his years. He can make adults laugh with his jokes, and that is saying something. (Not that he doesn't enjoy the usual fart/burp/vomit variety of humor that most boys his age are into, mind you. He's all over that too.) While watching the Sugar Bowl with the whole family, he quips during a commercial for chips, "Oh yeah, it's Tostitos
that brings us all together. Because no way would we be spending time with each other if not for chips!" You have to admit, that's funny. My boy is sweet.
A few weeks ago, I was having a very rough day. We are talking run away from home and return when the kids are 18
kind of day. I told Zach, "Look, Bub. I am feeling really stressed right now. I am trying to control my temper and my words, but just know that if I snap at you or sound mad, I am not. I am just really tired and need a time out myself." He goes into his room and returns a few minutes later with his wallet. "Mom, how much are the drinks at Starbucks that you like so much?" So I told him. "Mom, here's five dollars. I want you to go there tomorrow while I am at school and get yourself whatever you want. You need a little treat." (I am tearing up while typing this.) He does stuff like that all the time.
He takes care of his sister for me when I need to do something around the house. He plays with her and can make her laugh like no one else can. Even though he calls her Hobbit or The Little Stench, his love for her shines through his irritation. He's a good boy.My boy is a goober.
This kid is so goofy sometimes. It is so fun to watch him and his friends just be boys. And he and his dad? The biggest set of goobers ever to roam free on the planet. They've watched Napoleon Dynamite about 57.2 times and quote the lines back and forth to each other. They wrestle on the floor and tickle fight and make funny guy noises. They play GameCube and go to thrift stores and target shooting and hiking and generally have a lot of fun together. They can sing the SpongeBob Goofy Goober song so realistically that you think the yellow guy is standing in the living room.
But my boy is so much more than what I have listed here. He is my light, my heart, my world. He is the second best thing that has ever happened to me. His existence gives me a purpose I was lacking and a joy that is all-encompassing. I had no idea that it was possible to love another human being that much, to have that little person's happiness be my number one priority, to have his pain rip my heart clean out of my chest. I worried when I was pregnant with Alison that maybe I wouldn't love her as much as I did Zachary, because seriously? Can one heart produce that much love? Um, yeah. It can. And after seeing Zachary interact with her? The crazy love I had for him multiplied about a billion times over and combined with my love for her and my love for my husband and now I am just one big gushy heart full of mushy mommy love. (Except for when they tick me off.)
So, happy birthday, Maynard. Or Bub. Or Mister. Or SB or Zman or Zachmeister or Zachary Scissors or Zaccheus or any of the other fifty bajillion nicknames we've given you over the last eleven years. But the one name I will always be so thankful to call you by is Mine. I love you, little dude.