These past few weeks as we entered your birth month, I’ve been watching you in bewilderment. Looking at your long limbed body sprawled out on your bed, or sofa, or filling up a chair. Reminiscing about your birth, and every other small detail about your childhood. Conjuring up as many images and memories of little Rocky as I can, as if desperately trying to hold onto the moments of a time that has passed by too fast. And now, after all these weeks of weeping for my little boy with the bouncy hair, big eyes and even bigger smile who is not so little anymore, we have finally reached your birthday…and I get to help you celebrate 13!!
It’s a strange thing, watching your child grow. From little infant, to toddler, to a kid growing up too fast…until one day you wake up and in the place of this little boy who you forever hold in your heart, is a grown up teen who has now grown past you! It was still last year that I worried about you going on camp for the first time, when I still needed to linger around you before going to sleep…when I still felt needed in so many ways. I think you’ve been dependant on our presence for so long, that this giant leap of independence that has occurred almost overnight still leaves me gasping…like is this for real!?
You no longer climb into my bed at the crack of dawn like you used to on a weekend; preferring instead to laze till late and watch YouTube videos on your own. You no longer rely on me to wake you up for school, our phone alarms both blaring a few seconds apart. You no longer collapse simultaneously with me at the end of the day, preferring instead to stay awake and have conversations with Dad. Save for needing me for food, some help with projects, and carting you too and fro, I think I’ve started relying more on you these days – needing you to print everyone’s projects, needing your help with technology issues, needing your length and height when I can’t reach the top shelf in the supermarket, and it makes me think of you when you were little, climbing up things to reach the top cupboard all by yourself. It makes me feel like we’ve gotten here too fast.
But you do still give me little doses of a boy who still needs his mom…when you ask me to choose out your clothes and brush your hair and ask me with puppy dog eyes for treats from the shop. Inside this giraffe-like body is still a little boy who, even though doesn’t ask for love and affection often, most certainly enjoys it when the spotlight turns to him. It’s the little glimmer that shines and lets me know my vibrant, affectionate boy is still there.
Just last year when your sister turned 13, you promised to never burden me with mood swings (Amen and God bless your soul). So far we haven’t experienced any of that , but instead, today, on your 13th birthday, I am pleading with you to not retreat too far into your own world, to always keep the doors communication open and to allow us to peep into your thoughts from time to time. Be a little more open to criticism and keep on reaching for the highest goals, because I know without a doubt that you are capable of achieving them.
These days I wear your bright blue Addidas slippers with pride! The ones that not so long ago fitted your tiny feet and now fits mine. It’s a constant reminder that not so long ago you were just a little boy who needed me…and that in no time at all you will need me even less. It’s a reminder to take advantage of every precious day and relish in all the moments I have with you. No matter how tall you grow…in my heart you will always be my boy, my jolly Rocky with the razor sharp wit and countless snide comments… who makes me belly laugh like nobody else can…
I love you with all my heart…