It is hard to believe that six years have gone by, but it was that long ago that your mother and I were sitting in a hospital room wondering when you’d decide to arrive.
We had been there two days earlier, you see. You announced your imminent arrival in the form of contractions 1-2 minutes apart, which promptly vanished when we made it through triage and up to the maternity ward. Your mother was… displeased.
But, there we were, sitting and waiting. Mommy wanted to watch some TV, so we turned on a show. Mommy got bored and started calling her friends. At 8:28 that night I heard mommy say, “I feel something funny. Got to go.” She hung up her phone and 20 minutes later you joined the world. From the moment you were born you were your brother’s opposite. He came into the world asleep, you screamed so that your grandparents could hear you in Virginia. You were also a peanut. Okay, you were a normal size and weight, but tiny compared to your brother.
Within an hour of being born, you cute little hand had shot up out of your blanket and knocked the glasses off my face. I should have known then that that was a sign.
You have struggled with being the baby for as long as I can remember. You were up and walking at 10 months because you were sick of chasing after your brother in a crawl. You announced you were going to stop wearing diapers because you were a “big boy,” long before your mother and I had even considered starting potty training. You’ve tried to do everything your brother does at the same time, often forgetting that you’re 21 months younger than he is. But, that fact has rarely stopped you.
You are, without a doubt, your mother’s son. You have mommy’s attitude and temper (although you tend to take the latter to the extreme), but mommy can always soothe you, no matter what the problem is. Daddy is fun to play with, but mommy makes everything better. But, when your mind is made up, god help us if we disagree.
Band-aids may take second place before daddy, actually. You remain firmly convinced that a band-aid will cure any ailment or problem. We go through a lot of band-aids.
Like your brother, you are fearless, and willing to try anything at least once (except soccer). You are, however, more calculating than your brother. We joke that you’re the ringleader whenever there’s trouble, but more often than not, I don’t think it’s a joke. You have a brilliant little mind and its fascinating to watch you think something through. It can also be unnerving to see certain looks cross your face.
You are generous, almost to a fault (we are really trying to teach you the value of money now, before you give all you have away…). You are protective of others, even when they don’t deserve it. In kindergarten, you were nicknamed the “defense attorney” for always coming to someone’s aid with a quick “well, here’s what actually happened,” whenever someone was in trouble. Your friends adore you and you would do anything for them in return.
School has been a challenge for you. Rules and structure rub against your nature. Hierarchy is merely a suggestion for you, and you are often in trouble for correcting your teachers (although they do admit, you are often right…). You also have a voracious appetite for learning, and so have often sat in rapt attention while your brother teaches you something above your level. Thus, you are often bored in school. You went to preschool knowing your alphabet and how to count. We try and keep you interested, but you’re always ready for more. We’re not sure your school is ready for you to enter first grade next year.
Your desire to not be the baby is rendering itself in your growth. You have the same growing pains that I did and sprout up at least once a month. You have gone from wearing your brother’s clothes from last year, to wearing them from last season, to wearing the same clothes some days. You took Disney’s height requirements as a challenge and surpassed them. Now, you have your eyes on the height minimums for Harry Potter at Universal. I’m afraid your mother and the NBA will be your next challenges.
Six years. It doesn’t seem possible. With the exception of the blanket your brother gave you when you came home from the hospital, nothing is the same. (The banket is still around, but it has seen better days…). You are a big boy and nobody is going to tell you otherwise (unless it means doing chores, etc. in which case you explain that you’re still a baby). You’re covered in scrapes and bruises, but unafraid to face your next challenge. I can’t wait to see what it is each day.
So, tonight, we will feast on your choice of hot dogs and grilled cheese and your cake, which is a model of the Stargate (because Dora never explored far enough for you).
I love you, Bubba. Happy Birthday.