Thursday, October 4, 2012

Birthday Boy

Today is our son's birthday. He is 21 years old, the age of majority. We love him so.

At age 1

I can remember him as little boy, a perpetual motion machine, always with his bear whose name was Cat, his churning brain noticing everything, asking everything, curious and mischievous and laughing and sweet.

Age 6

When he came home from college two weekends ago, just showing up on our doorstep that Friday night, clearly pleased with himself for pulling off the surprise, I realized more than ever that my boy is now a man. One clue was the way he straightened up the living room after himself on Sunday, carting cups and plates he had used to the kitchen where he unpacked and then packed the dishwasher and took out the garbage and wiped down the counters. Without being asked.

Age 11

And then, before he had to catch his bus, he and I went to the Apple store to get his sister a promised iPhone 5 so he could take it back to her at college, but they were sold out, so my son and I just walked down Broadway, talking about everything, and he made me concentrate on how I walked, the particular gait I have that over the years has caused injury. He says I need to relearn how to walk, that I walk from the hip, with the knees locked like a wooden soldier, which is why things are wonky, why I have pain, and he carefully coached me on walking through the knees, bending and lifting them, so basic really, and it was indeed less painful but very awkward. He said, let's just walk like this for a while, so you can practice, I've got you, and he took my hand in his big one, held it firm, and I felt as safe and taken care of as a 5-year-old, no longer at risk of tripping over my own two feet, or an imperceptible bump in the sidewalk. He walked beside me for more than a dozen blocks, my son, tall and rooted, a good and strong and steady man.

Who does like to enjoy himself.

Age 18

Later, when I dropped him off at Port Authority so he could catch the bus back to his college, where he is a senior majoring in exercise science and minoring in sports psych, he kissed me and jumped out the cab, gracefully weaving his way through the crowd, and I felt tears on my face as I watched him disappear into the terminal, so grateful for the time we had shared, the communion, neither one of us irritable with the other, both of us expressing the purest form of love, the kind that allows each other's quirks, acknowledges and embraces them, even smiles indulgently at them. I think I cried after he left because I realized how much he loves me after all. As I love him.

When I said this to my husband later, he said, Of course he loves you, as if the thought that it could be otherwise was supremely silly. And I suppose it is.

Happy birthday, my darling son. There is no other boy in the world I would rather mother. I love you with all I am, forever.

Age 20


  1. Oh, Angella -- he is so utterly gorgeous, in every conceivable way. And so are you.

  2. You really are fortunate, and so is he. As both of you already know!

    How great to have someone knowledgeable in physical movement to help you with your walk! I suspect relearning how to walk would be a challenge. It's great that he could spot the problem and give you some place to start.

  3. Happy Birthday to your beautiful "baby" boy.
    You did a real good job with him!
    Your Friend, m.

  4. One of the things that popped out of this for me was your husband's reaction to your realization of your son's love for you. My husband is the same- it wouldn't occur to him that the children don't love us completely.
    And I have a feeling that your son will be the same way- he will give and accept love easily and with that same sure knowledge.
    He is so beautiful. You created life, you nurtured it. You have given the planet a gift. And he will always be your son and always love you.
    Now- could he come walk with me and tell me what I'm doing wrong?

  5. Happy Birthday to your son. And congratulations to you for raising such a fine man.

  6. Beautiful. I'm glad he could help you with your gait and I hope you can find some way to relearn. Do you need physical therapy? And I'm glad your husband could help you with the love that is surely always there and always will be. How do we get so unsure of things?

  7. He is such a beautiful soul. You and your husband make great ones:) I read this lovely post with a lump in my throat and a heart that was so full for you. And now I cannot help but be drawn to the photo on the right of your husband in 1986 and sit here thinking how much your boy looks like your husband, but has a personality so much like yours and how wonderful that all truly is! We are blessed, aren't we, my sweet friend? Once again, my soul sister, I can totally relate to and understand something that you said as if it came from my own heart. I sometimes have to reassure myself about how much my girls do love me and my husband just sits there looking at me saying, "OF COURSE they love you!" and honestly I know that they do, but there are days...

    Happy 21st birthday to your wonderful son and happy Birth Day to you, dear one!!! I cannot wait to see what both of your lovely children do on their journeys:)

    Big hugs and so much love today and always!

  8. Happy birthday to your wonderful son! And yes you and your husband did an excellent job raising a fine young man. Now I have to go get a Kleenex to dry up my tears. Beautiful post :)

  9. Happy birthday to him! And kudos to you and hubby for raising this beautiful/wonderful/caring human being. I love the 'age 11' pic of you and the kids.

  10. Happy birthday to your son! Hugs.

  11. He's such a very impressive young man. Thanks for sharing him with all of us. I wonder how he feels about your blog posts about him, if they make him a little embarrassed or if he just takes it all in stride - I imagine it's the latter. :)