How is it even conceivable that my little sandy haired blue eyed baby- is 12 years old today? How it that his single digit days are already over and why am I feeling so melancholy about the whole affair? I mean, really I’m not- I don’t think I’d trade his 12-year-old self for the confident, funny, opinionated, strong and yes even at times silly boy who makes every part of my daily experience richer by his mere presence. But still when I see a little boy wearing a cute little tuxedo, with his Bart Simpson hair I do get a little bit wistful for the days when my son was just so enamored with me to the point where he’d let me dress him in bow ties and literally hung on my every last word.
Our relationship is evolving and I am constantly aware, or at least trying to be, of allowing him the independence to explore what he’s passionate about, to flex his decision -making skills and to just be. But it is hard feeling and seeing him slip away from me- not needing or wanting me to be as entrenched in his life as I used to be- but of course– I need to remember it’s not all about me 😉
I grew up with a mother who was the paradigm of femininity with her perfectly coiffed hair and manicured nails, a woman who wouldn’t dare leave the house without her stockings and pair of high heel pumps. In a house where delicate ivory curtains adorned every window and Cosmopolitan and Seventeen magazines were a permanent fixture on the coffee table, my sisters and I were completely clueless about the likes and dislikes of the male persuasion.
In fact, until I started dating, I barely knew the difference between a baseball and basketball, and had never even been to a sporting event. My poor dad was simply outnumbered. When I got married I realized I had a pretty tough learning curve ahead of me, and while I thought marriage would ultimately given me a bird’s eye view into the evolution of men, mothering a son has provided me with my greatest insight into the secret early beginnings of boys, who ultimately become these men. I absolutely believe in nature vs. nurture. As soon as they pulled my son from my womb I’m sure he must’ve been clutching a matchbox car, action figure or dinosaur!
At 12 years old , he’s firmly made clear his likes and dislikes; who knew a boy could shoot baskets in his room 24 hours a day while helping my husband and I balance our financial portfolios and “force us to watch vintage presidential debates while he provides a running commentary” ?! Although I never imagined I’d be remotely interested in these things I am because I desperately want to share his passions, despite how mind numbing I personally think they are.
And this past week when we got to watch him perform in two truly glorious stage productions of Annie at his NYC public school and my heart felt like it was bursting at the seams. Bursting because I had no idea this could could dance and sing AT THE SAME TIME. I also had no idea that he could so passionately deliver his lines as he reminded me ( there are no small parts!) And when I nearly RUSHED the stage to shower him in hugs- post performance-despite being surrounded by all his peers he let me engage in some major PDA and well it just made me fall that much more in love with him and immediately filled me with anxiety about the days when getting slobbered on by his mama in public will be strictly prohibited.
I am constantly reminded about the fragility of life and that every day with my son is a gift and I am well- aware that the mother son relationship will likely be the most important and influential one of his life. I want to be his touchstone that well of strength for him, his soft place to fall as he continues to experience the highs and lows that will inevitably befall him. And so here are my 12 wishes for him on this very special day ( which are actually the SAME wishes I bestowed on my soon to be 16 year old on her 12th birthday- because as the second kid he is used to getting lots of hand me downs!)
#1 That you will Never lose your sparkle.
#2 That you will never let anyone else’s opinions dictate to you what you should be-or diminish your pride.
#3 That you will Always listen to your inner voice.
#4 That you will Take pride in your family history- and revere it’s legacy.
#5 That you will always surround yourself with animals and that shih tzus will be a forever part of your life.
#6 That you will remember beauty comes from within and your physical body is just a shell.
#7 That you will always indulge in belly laughs and surround yourself with people who make you smile.
#8 That you never let anyone tell you to stop believing in your dreams and the possibility of a happily ever after.
#9 That you never let any relationship define you and know that whether you are with someone or not you are perfect and you are whole.
#10 That you remember your sister is and will always be your biggest ally.
#11 That you let yourself off the hook when things don’t think work out and honey-things don’t always work out.
#12 That you know that your mom and dad are always here for you, no matter what, no matter when, no matter where.
Happy 12th birthday baby boy!!