Today, son number one turns 23. It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I was phoning home from Japan to tell my Mom that she had a new grandson. It doesn’t seem like 20 years since storytime at the library, preschool co-op and trips to the zoo. It doesn’t seem like18 years ago that we signed up for T-ball and soccer, went to the Art Museum with the kindergarteners or 16 years ago that he shared his chicken pox with myself and his 3 year old brother.
Was it really 13 years ago that he got selected for the elite soccer team, and had his first “girlfriend” or 11 years since he won a prize for art and one for science in the same year? I can’t believe it’s been 8 years since he road his bike off to high school and got his first part time job and started to drive. 5 years since graduation in the top 10% of his class, 5 years since he got a real, everyday job and almost 5 years since he started college on a soccer scholarship.
4 years ago we moved to Washington and he moved out of our house and in with his Grandmother in the next town over. Still close enough to hang out with, but starting to find his own way in life. 2 years since the significant 21st birthday, complete with cocktails and dinner, and knowing now that there was this whole other person that was separate from me. It’s been 1 year since we were planning a trip to Italy, one that I was going on under the condition that there would be “no mothering involved.” And two weeks since hearing “my house, my rules,” and the question “are you here as a mom or a poker buddy?”
Where does the time go?
I can still see him chasing chickens in our backyard, bringing in an armload of eggs he had found behind the air conditioner. I see him playing “Ladies and Gentlemen” and hear him saying “hody moke.” I remember him picking flowers at a Napa winery and when I told him we couldn’t do that because they didn’t belong to us, he looked at the flowers, looked back at me and said “they do now.” I see him standing on an overturned milk carton in San Francisco for a better view, and people throwing money at him. I see him playing t-ball at the Y, and proud in his select soccer uniform. I remember the first broken bone (and the 2nd and the 3rd). I remember spending a late night in the ER with a broken arm, and driving him the next morning to take the SAT’s.
As my firstborn turns 23, I reflect on all these things. And I can brag a little too. Brett is a handsome, kind, generous man. He is loved by everyone who meets him, he’s friendly and funny, sensitive and thoughtful, a loyal friend and a watchful brother. He is serious and a thinker, but knows how to have a good time. He loves movies, and books and music and poetry and dogs. He’s an outdoorsy guy, likes to hike and camp and fish. There isn’t a sport he can’t play, and he can kick your ass in most of them. He tells a wicked joke, can make you laugh yourself silly recounting the details of some random encounter, and can put forth a well thought out argument. He is articulate, but can’t spell to save his soul. He is great to do coffee with, to go on a European adventure with or watch a video with. I am lucky to know him AND be his mom.
Happy Birthday Brett. I love you.