Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Weekly Wonderings #34: The Eldest's Birthday

1. Outwardly, he has never resembled me in any way, so I often end up responding to comments of such nature with, “Would you like to see the scar that shows he came from me?” One day, I’m sure I’ll stumble upon someone who will take me up on that offer; however, given my advancing age, perhaps the likelihood of that decreases with each turn of the calendar page.

2. He is mine, of course, and he has always been attached to me. Unlike the fickle nature of his sister or brother, both of whom have alternated between which parent they cling to, my eldest has always clung to me.

3. He adores his father, and believes his father is all-knowing, especially in all things science and war. He aches for his father to watch him play war video games, and one of his special privileges is to be able to sit with his father until 9:15 p.m. or so, watching the Discovery Science Channel. This happens while I’m making sure the other two are sound asleep. If I’m not paying attention, his dad and he will push the envelope, staying up until 9:30 p.m.

4. He is a perfectionist. He does not believe he is in school to learn. He believes he is in school to show the teacher that he already knows everything. To that end, for example, he does not like to show that extra pages are used to work out math problems. And he struggles over wording something exactly right so he may beam under the rays of a teacher’s approval.

5. For three weeks, starting when he was about six weeks old, he was colicky. And we danced to the music of Bruce Springsteen for four hours every night.

6. He’s a hell of a guitarist, but he’s so unbelievably shy that he won’t perform in public. And what does “public” mean to this lad? Anyone other than himself.

7. The excruciating shyness he has displayed for several years is a puzzle to me. I don’t understand what triggered it, but it is full blown. He wants to blend in so badly. He doesn’t want anyone to notice him. At recess, he will stand on the sidelines, watching, and the sight of him standing off, all alone, sticks with me and causes my heart to ache forevermore.

8. He is eager to please everyone: his teachers, his friends, his coaches, his parents. He beats himself up over the slightest mistake. It is impossible to be too hard on him because he is always so hard on himself.

9. We have a nightly ritual, with me coming to sit on his bed in the dark, chatting for several minutes. It is our time alone. It is in these brief moments that he shares secrets willingly. I try to forget my tiredness and treasure this time and the nightly good-night, sweet dreams, I love you, kiss exchange that we perform.

10. I know that he will outgrow me, that he will spread his wings, that he will test boundaries, that he will feel he hates me for my interference and for the inept guidance I will try to give as he wrestles through his teenage years and young adulthood. I will mourn this boy who turns 11 today, just as I have mourned the baby, the toddler, the preschooler, the kindergartener. And I will remember to celebrate who he is in the moment. Happy Birthday, Eldest. It’s been a wonderful 11 years.

15 comments:

Toni said...

Ahhhh, I'm sad now. More sad than I already was as my baby is ten months old today. sigh.

I hate shyness. It is so hard for those who deal with it. Hopefully, he will move past it. Perhaps as he gets older, he will find an activity or sport that helps him overcome.

Happy Birthday, Eldest!

Good Work, Momma!

susiej said...

I know it's sad - but part of me feels this is such a joyful feeling. I mean, a whole complete person you're starting to see and share life with -- someone not so dependent on you for everything. It's wonderful. Happy Birthday.

chichimama said...

Happy birthday to him! What a wonderful piece, I feel like I know him...

Josie Two Shoes said...

Oooh, this was so sweet it made me cry. I wish my baby was eleven again, he's 28 now. In the rush of living, those years disappear so fast!

g said...

What a heartfelt post, so touching, indeed. They do grow up so fast, it's just amazing how they become such a separate being, perhaps in a philosophical sense.

Eleven. Wow. Just a few more years and that boy becomes a man. Congrats, Patois!

And Happy Birthday, Eldest! :D

Gina said...

Awww, Happy Birthday to him!

He sounds like such a sweet young man.

Sarcastic Mom (aka Lotus) said...

Aww, Happy Birthday to your Eldest!

"he struggles over wording something exactly right so he may beam under the rays of a teacher’s approval" Hah. Sounds like the blogger in all of us...

And, number 9 kills me. Great.

Linda said...

This post brought tears to my eyes though I couldn't exactly tell you why - probably the last part about mourning the years that have gone on before.

Your son sounds like quite the young man. Happy birthday to him!

Just Jen said...

What a beautiful tribute. You've worded your love for him so well. You shared how every mother feels about that baby boy that just doesn't seem to stop growing. I keep telling my eldest to stop growing up. He's not allowed to go past 13, which he is now. I remember rocking him in the middle of the night to Meatloaf's Paradise by the Dashboard Lights....lol

Bren said...

What a touching tribute to your son. Those nightly rituals are what lets me know I'm doing something right.

Jeni said...

My son was never shy - or so it would appear to others as he was generally pretty outgoing -and yet, there were, still are, areas of him that all of a sudden, out of the blue, he would get really shy. You just could never really peg him and at age 34, sometimes, you still can't. But there is something between him and me, the way he will often come to me and tell me things that are really hurting him and I frequently can do the same with him -it's a good bond in that respect between us. And the nicest thing though, he and his younger sister especially have a similar bond. He never leaves without coming over to me to offer a kiss, sometimes a little pat on the head too -and all three of my kids never talk to each other without ending the conversation by saying "I love you" -and all three of 'em do that with me too which makes for a darned nice feeling that passes between the four of us.
Hope your son has a great birthday, many more, and maintains that special bond between the two of you as well.

Amy Turn Sharp said...

I had a lil tear at the end- thinking about my wee ones and how this time is so slight
perfect.

Gill said...

What a fantastic heartfelt tribute to your son! Happy Birthday to him!

D... said...

Happy Birthday Eldest! I absolutely loved this post. As a mother of a son who clings, it really spoke to my heart.

Bubba's Sis said...

Happy Birthday, Eldest! You sound so much like my Youngest, who turns 11 in March (especially #4!).

Mama, I know exactly how you feel in your mourning. Each birthday about rips my heart out. How do the years pass so quickly?!?

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