I remember telling the doctor, as you were being born “He’d better be cute!” because you laid on my sciatic nerve the last two weeks of my pregnancy, and I was in excruciating pain throughout most of that time.
But you had a better plan. You were born with the cord wrapped around your neck and were blue. When they finally revived you, your cry sounded more like a calf than a human baby, it was so low and gravelly. I guess you figured if I felt sorry for you, I’d stop being mad at you. You were right!
I can’t count the number of times we watched The Karate Kid and Beetlejuice. Every little thing about you made me laugh, making it impossible to be stern or angry with you for those little things that children do that sometimes frazzle even the best of Moms. I was just highly amused with your little boy ways, which caused some problems with your sisters from time to time.
Our last week in Hawaii, after the girls went to bed, I’d take you out to the sea wall that separated our temporary housing cabin from the beach, and we’d sit and watch the waves come in, wrapped in a blanket, and you’d sing “Say you, say me” to me. No star in the sky was brighter than yours that night.
You excelled academically and, even as you got older, you still constantly made me laugh. We were the best of friends, you and I. Our common love for video games saw us sitting Indian style in front of the television more often than I should have been there. With you, I always took the mindset “When he’s older, he’ll remember the time I spent with him and he’ll never remember how clean or dirty the house was.” It became our tradition, the day after Christmas, to sit in our pajamas, playing video games the entire day. I can’t count the times during those sessions that you made me laugh to the point where I literally hurt. God I loved being with you!
We went to your sister’s cheerleading competitions and basketball games and football games and you were always one of her biggest fans. When you began playing football yourself, I marveled at how respected you were by your teammates and coaches, given how small you were compared to your peers.
The single most thing that stands out in my mind, as you were growing up, is that you seemed to learn from your sisters’ mistakes and, while I fussed at you from time to time, that was about all I ever really needed to do. But, beyond being well behaved and a bit of a corker, you became a gentle, kind spirit with a marvelous sense of humor, a razor sharp wit, and your very own person. But more than anything else, you were always someone that I could have a conversation with — about anything. You were my best friend.
How does one get so lucky as to have a boy who never asks “Why do *I* have to take out the garbage,” or whined “I don’t want to help clean the garage.” You always just DID things. Even now when I ask you to do things, you just cheerfully say “Okay” and do it.
I quit smoking when you were 15. The single biggest factor behind my success was you — at my side through all of the physical projects I kept finding for us to do while I got over those humps. Every single day, without fail, you asked me how I did. I couldn’t have done it, honestly, without your support.
When you were 17, I told you about myself, knowing that if I still had your love and support, I didn’t really much care about the rest of the world. Later that year, when Lisa moved in, you just seemed to assimilate all of these changes effortlessly. When you got your license you were gone a lot more, perhaps knowing that I wouldn’t be lonely now, since I had Lisa in my life.
Your 21st birthday hit me hard. But because of the nature of your personality I got through it pretty well. Why? Because you never make me worry about you. You make good choices. (OK, you have a bit of a lead foot, but besides that….) And, of course, the deposit you left on the driveway that night helped seal the driveway.
Two weeks later, as my longest and best friend, you stood up for me when Lisa and I got married. I often look at this picture and think about how much it shows that I’m so proud of you, and how much I adore you.
I often long for the little boy who was my best friend, but I am so fiercely proud of the man that you’ve become. And while we no longer spend the same kind of time together, my love and respect for you has not diminished one bit.
You are still the brightest star in my sky.