I spent a lot of time this weekend, thinking back to the time when you were born. It started Thursday night, when I remembered that my water broke during Seinfeld…and I remained in denial (a sort of caged-tiger-pacing-with-anxiety denial, but denial all the same) until after ER was over. I clearly remember leaving the house with your dad, backing out of the driveway thinking…this is the last time we’ll ever be a family of two. There wasn’t a more anticipated baby in Fort Morgan, CO, dare I say…EVER. On the day you were born, as soon as I was able (stupid C-section drugs) I couldn’t put you down. All I could do was hold you, marvel over you, and kiss your little nicked up head. I looked at you, sang to you, and began to imagine our future together. By midnight, I was keeping your father awake (or at least pretending to be) worried about where you’d go to college and how we’d be able to afford it.
You see, since you were but minutes old, I’ve been worrying about you. I’m your Mom and it’s my job. But, it IS warranted…let me explain.
By the time you were 15 months old, you’d already had two sets of stitches, over 10 total. By the time you were 3, you’d broken two bones and given yourself 3rd degree burns. For most of your toddlerhood/ younger years, you were a walking time bomb and I was a ball of nerves.
But as hard as you played, you loved the people around you. The relationships you’ve created throughout your relatively short life are inspiring. It started with Brenda. She was your very first BFF. When she’d walk into the room, your face would just light up. Then you met Olivia and something tells me that you and she could be friends until you’re both old, married and your kids meet…at the swimming pool. I suspect you’ll have much the same relationship with Joel. But it’s the relationships with the adults in your life that is truly amazing. Your ability to sit down and have grown up conversations, even at the age of 5, has always been remarkable. People love you when they meet you. There’s something absolutely captivating about you.
But, you are also a bit of a rule breaker, too. When it was just us, you’d frequently ask me what the consequences of a situation were before deciding whether or not you were going to follow my rules. Once you were in preschool/daycare, we had to work to define why the rules of the 2 and 3 year old rooms applied to you. You were working on how to create policy with your classmates, however, they were mostly working on how to be potty-trained and put together puzzles. Once you started school, that’s where the fun began. It’s been a constant thing in our lives to work with the teachers to figure out how to motivate you to do what everyone else does…because, you son, have no interest in being like everyone else.
Despite the stress and hardship that brings for your teachers and I, it’s also one of my favorite qualities about you. For a few years, you only wore t-shirts that were a little sarcastic or a lot cynical. Then you changed your style to only wear Hawaiian shirts. Now it seems you’ve found a relatively nice balance of the two. You love music, but almost none of the stuff most kids are listening to. In Kindergarten, your favorite radio program was John Tesch. You found him on the radio in your room that you’d figured out how to use and set to play quietly as you fell asleep. You were constantly quoting him. It was a weird, but in a REALLY. FUNNY. WAY. And today, you quite literally, march to the beat of a different drummer. For years, you’ve been pounding on every hard surface, and some not so hard surfaces, CONSTANTLY. So this year, we bought you drums. You have a natural music ability of which I am in awe.
As you were approaching the teen years, we’ve already had conversations where I try to explain to you that my job is to get you through the next ten years or so alive. As a worrier, that is my largest concern. Yes, I want you to go through life, successful, smart and loved…but those things come naturally to you. The staying alive part is what scares me. Part of being twice exceptional, both gifted and somewhat ADD, is your greatest sense is not that of the common variety. You are led by curiosity. “I wonder what happens if I do this….” It’s far too frequently led to hospital visits, broken trinkets, and even a GSW on a passing automobile. So, as you enter your teen years…let’s remember we’re in this together.
Happy Birthday, Bear. I love every bit of you, always have.