"As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame; / [ . . . ] Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: / Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; / Selves -- goes itself; 'myself' it speaks and spells, / Crying 'What I do is me; for that I came'." --Gerard Manley Hopkins

29 December 2005

Birthday Time

The Young Man turned 15 yesterday. Hard to believe he's been around that long, except when it seems he's been around forever. He's been practically an only child for half his life; sometimes I find it hard to remember he's really an uncle to all the itsy bitsies rather than, say, a cousin. They adore him. He loves the attention, even when it's a bit harassing at times. (He will probably deny this when he reads it.)

His nearest sibling is nine and a half years his elder (and has three children). I call him my tag-along, and I've never once rued his arrival. I recall the awe on the faces of the other four as they gathered in the hospital room the evening of his birth and vied for the opportunity to hold him. Once home they would gather around him and urge him to talk; he seemed to be trying his absolute best to shape his mouth in imitation to answer. (He talked early and had the language skills of above an eight-year-old before he was two. I have always assumed that was because of six people talking to him all day long every day.)

I think of the nights of colic, when we'd take turns walking him about the living room, the second son seeming the most patient as he sang "Jesus Loves Me" over and over and over while trying every possible baby hold to help him feel more comfortable. I think of his sisters' automatic mothering skills as they loved him and cared for him while I was gone during the day at work. I think of him in his too-small tux (thanks to the rental company ignoring our size requests) beside his oldest brother at his wedding, so little and cute but standing tall and proud. So many memories . . .

And now I have to look up a bit to look in his eyes, and I think I can see him growing yet taller as he stands at the sink washing the dishes each night. At times he drives me crazy, then he says, "Need a hug?" and I remember all the ways he enriches my life, all the ways he serves me and tries to please me, all the ways he is growing up . . . and how grateful I am, always, for this precious gift.

Happy birthday, son. You're a wondrous gift from God, and I have never doubted that for a moment. I love you.

4 comments:

Cindy said...

Happy Belated Birthday to my video gaming partner supremo!!! Many, many blessings on his next year, and on yours, most wonderful friend. (You'll need them. He starts driving next year.) :)

Loving you all,
LuCindy

alaiyo said...

Hi, LuCindy -- passed on your birthday greetings and they received a chuckle. More than I often get out of him! :)

But driving? My Jetta? On my insurance? I think not. Perhaps when he leaves home . . . :)

A book that might interest you: Sacred Place. It's edited by Scott Cairns and somebody Olsen (it's at home and I'm not). An anthology of poems and essays about, obviously, "place." I am fascinated by much of it, repelled by some of it. Definitely shows the neo-Romanticism of our age, and makes me think we desperately need believers writing about place, about nature, with respect but without deification. Like you often do.

A blessed New Year to you, my friend. What excitments await us in 2006?

Love you,

Beth

Cindy said...

Ah! What timing you have! My Borders gift certificate burning a hole in my DayRunner and a trip to that very place planned for Thursday!

Have I told you that one of Scott's former students (now holding the rank of "friend" in our hearts) has offered to have Cairns autograph a book for me? He teaches at Columbia, where she attends. She's heard him read. I am insanely jealous. ;)

alaiyo said...

How cool is that?! The other editor's name is W. Scott Olsen, by the way, and the title does have "The" in it (*The* Sacred Place).

Enjoy your Borders trip! Buying books is SO delightful . . . :)

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