Saturday, March 3, 2007

Happy Birthday, Buddy

It was a birthday at our household. The oldest gained another year on his brothers.

We're lousy at birthdays. We're lousy at most holidays, in fact. Presents, cards, even thank you notes, it's kind of a long shot whether they'll get bought, acknowledged, or sent. We do our best, and there isn't a good excuse, but it is what it is.

Today was typical. He wants a television in his room for a birthday present. We haven't decided yet. I'm not crazy about the idea. We'll probably give in. He's a good kid; responsible, hardworking. He's earned some privileges.

School was closed so he and I went out for lunch, to a nice Italian restaurant. He had the Chicken Marsala, I had the squash ravioli, we split a dessert. Then we came home and played Scrabble before he made dinner for the family and some neighbors. Pork chops in onion gravy, along with broccoli, bread, and potatoes. He likes to cook.

It doesn't seem that long ago that he was born. My best friend came to the hospital that night, slightly drunk. He held my crying child and said, "You know what he's saying? 'Dad, you're wrong. Dad, you're stupid. Dad, give me the car keys.'"

A few years later, I came home from work one night. He was at the top of the stairs and when he saw me, he jumped up and down, yelling, "Daddy's home," until he fell over. On bad days I like to remember that.

In third grade, my shy, quiet kid was the lead in the school play. I look at pictures of that sometimes and wonder how it happened.

Last year, the middle school had an honor roll ceremony. He got a medal that he hid away, because he doesn't like attention. I catch glimpses of it once in a while, when his bedroom door is open.

In a few more years, he'll leave here. We'll see him at holidays, more often if he lives in town. I watch him sleep sometimes, now, my boy, strong, handsome, and halfway gone already.


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to your oldest! It sounds like it was a good one and your oldest sounds like a good one as well. :)

I was just telling someone that living with young children is like living with fireflies... I know my time with fireflies is running out. It does indeed go fast.

Anonymous said...

What a very sweet post!