Happy Birthday, Michael

Nineteen years ago today, I became a mother. It's all I ever really wanted to be. When I was a little girl, all my play was sprinkled with babies. I fell in love early and  I knew then what it was to want to be a wife.  We were married and had a baby shortly after our first anniversary. So, there has been a baby in our lives most of our married life. And I've been married  all my adult life.

That baby, that first baby, was better than my best imaginings. He was a sweet, beautiful blue-eyed, blond-haired, bundle of utter joy. He kept me up all night. I didn't mind; I was still happy to see him first thing in the morning.Looking back, he was rather spoiled. I remember making pancakes from scratch every morning for months on end because that's the only thing he liked for breakfast (and lunch, too, for that matter). I remember putting him in the car and following the trash truck because he was fascinated by it. I remember offering moral support while my husband stayed up all night crafting a Peter Pan ship out of cake and frosting for his fifth birthday. He slept on our bedroom floor, with all his action figures arranged, just so, until he was seven. There's nothing quite like getting up in the middle of the night and stepping on Captain Hook.

I also remember that this was the child who grew to be the big brother. He was the one who was there to welcome every baby. He was the one who had piggybacks down to a science, could change a diaper in a pinch, and stayed up all night with me when I had six stitches in my hand the same night five of his siblings had a stomach bug and his dad was out of town. This was the child who first moved from child to friend.

He's a great conversationalist. He loves to write and to take pictures and it's fun to trade ideas with him for both. As he has matured, his faith has, too, and I find myself lately being inspired by his example. I don't think that we are supposed to be buddies with our children when they are little. I don't even think we're supposed to be chums with our sons when they are big. But I do think that a goal in childrearing is to raise a person with whom you can be friends. What a lovely thing it is to look at the young adult in my life and want to spend time with him! He is my friend. I love him and I respect him. I'm still his Mom and he reminds me frequently that he still needs my perspective and experience and guidance in his life. But he's a man and I am very fond of the man he is.

So, today is his birthday and in many, many ways, it's mine as well. He was nine days late. We'd always known his name was Michael and we think he waited to be heralded by the archangels on the feast. How often lately, I call upon those angels! Defend him in battle, please! Help him avoid the snares of the devil. Be with my baby in that very big world. Oh, and, enjoy the companionship of one of my best friends.

He surprised me late yesterday and asked me to come get him so he could spend a few hours at home. This mom who hates to drive gleefully added an extra hour to the Friday afternoon driving--half of which was perfect heaven because Michael sat next to me and talked about all sorts of things while he ate pistachios and feed Slurpee to Karoline. He asked for another Peter Pan cake, but we opted instead for our traditional Devil's Food Kahlua cake.  What a joy it is this morning to set the table for breakfast and put the birthday plate at Michael's place. All the places are set today (with an extra for my Dad who also surprised me late yesterday).And it was lovely to go to bed last night with all my children under my roof. It's birthday week here. Let the feasting begin!