Happy Birthday Son!
In three hours, it will be officially 25 years ago when I had my oldest son, Spencer. If you would have told me then, that one day I would have a child that is this age, I wouldn’t have been able to comprehend it. Not even for a second. Unlike birthdays that fall in the Christmas season, having one this holiday is fantastic for kids. I had him believing forever that the entire country held these firework displays just to celebrate that little Spencer Douglas McLeod had been born.
First kids have the terrible burden of having parents learning with them. Even though I was 26, I was not a mature 26, and so we had to help each other grow up. I didn’t care that I almost died giving birth, I was fairly sure I had just given the world the brightest, cutest, best baby in all the lands! I see new moms now and I recognize the same look in their eyes. The one that says “I have just birthed the answer to the world’s problems. Right here, in this blanket, is 5 pounds of greatness so watch out!”
When the second child came, his world turned upside down and shook like a rag doll. He was super confused because Lex could not stop himself from crying before he was born, so he gulped the fluid into his lungs and developed pneumonia. So when we came home without a baby, Spencer could not have been more relieved. He did wonder where Rob and I went every few hours, but life was good for him again. He did alright for about two weeks. Lex had come home, and we were now a family of four. He pulled me aside and said that we could take the baby back now. It had been fun, but all good things must end right?
Of all the guys, he really had it the hardest. He is the only one who remembers any part of Rob and me, when it was Rob and me. He remembers the poverty, the embarrassment. And in his own way of loving us, he was ashamed of us as well. It really broke my heart that he took the brunt of the terrible decisions that we made. It seemed to ride squarely on the back of the little boy that had parents who didn’t know how to be what he wanted more than needed.
It is hard for a kid to go to a private school, (paid for by my parents) that is loaded with kids his age, with parents that had done everything they were supposed to. They had the new cars, the big houses, boats, and we had the van, the hippie-like mentality. Whereas the other kids had parents that went to med school, law school, we were the dreamers. He stuck out. We all were like a neon sign. That is the opposite of what a kid wants.
Through all the bohemian years, I held fast and true that one day, he would not be ashamed of us, but happy that we weren’t the cookie cutter families that could be interchangeable. We tried and I think succeeded on a minor level of giving him experiences, even though we couldn’t give him the “stuff” that his friends had. We plunged ahead, never letting him feel too sorry for himself, and then the day a parent dreams of actually happened.
I was working on my book, and he was watching me. He said, “You know Mom, I am really glad you and Dad took us traveling. It used to bother me, but now I am so happy we did those things. I am really proud of our family.”
VICTORY! It is rare that I am held silent, but that was the moment I couldn’t reply. I needed to hear that from him above all others. I needed to know that he realized we made errors, but that we tried to make a life carved from beautiful sea shells, and not gold.
Here is where we have landed. He is going into MRI tech school in the fall. He has an amazing girlfriend whom I consider a friend, and we love her as our family. It is easy to do because she loves him. She is cut from a strong cloth, she will tell him when she feels he has been disrespectful. Even when they are learning how to be a family, there is a shroud of love that covers them. I know they will be alright.
He is more like me than the other guys. He looks like me, he is a bit sarcastic, and he is loyal and true. I am so proud of him! Yes, he has chosen to do things his way, even against advice we have given. When he has fallen flat, he owns it, and that is a trait I admire. He is a beautiful man with a loud laugh, a terse line of humor, he is not perfect but he is golden in my heart.
Spin, I have to tell you something. Those fireworks? Those parties from the White House, to the back yard of my parents, have absolutely nothing to do with you. But hey, what a great thing to have as yours when you were little. I also would like to tell you that mullets were indeed “in” at that time. I am sorry I cut your hair the night before kindergarten graduation. Who knew it was so hard to do? And for the record, you looked very cute bald. I don’t think I was the only one to think that either. I am sorry it took me as long to grow up as it took you. But I will never apologize for what Dad and I tried to give you. Mostly it worked, just never the way we envisioned in our mind’s eye.
Honey, love your wife with all your heart. Only put her second, to your children, but then it isn’t a lower spot, she will be beside you as an equal. Your heart will be forever gone the moment you see your first born. You will believe in love at first sight because you will feel it. I know, because that is what I felt as we looked out the window watching the fireworks from the hospital.
I whispered in your ear, “Those are all for you, my love! All of it!” I love you more than the world. More than infinity! Thanks for choosing me to be your mom. Thanks for loving Katie, for loving your dad. You are all good, and my life has been made whole because of the little bundle that arrived 25 years ago. The world celebrated! And I found true love! Have a great weekend at the bay. Happy birthday son! This will be the best year ever. Mom
Everybody have a fantastic fourth of July! Be safe, laugh hard, and remember to always support Indie writers. We will talk again on Monday. r