Monday, October 26, 2009


How did we get here? Eleven?!? Next thing you know it'll be twelve and then (gasp!) thirteen. I wonder if you would consider just stopping here while you still like me and I still find you unbelievably sweet?

It wasn't so long ago that you were all rounded curves and wrinkles of baby fat. Now you are hard planes and gangly limbs. It used to be that you would lift your chubby arms in the air and say "Up!" wanting to be carried. Now, when we playfully spar and wrestle, I am having a hard time holding my own. If I were to carry you now, it would have to be across my back--and your legs would probably drag on the ground. Yes, time has flown.

Memories of your birth and baby and toddler hood are still so very fresh. You like to hear me tell about how you were my biggest baby, weighing in at 9 pounds. You laugh when I wonder where I put you, because you were almost 23 inches long--almost 2 pounds and three inches bigger than any of your siblings. We tease you that you should be a girl, because that was what we thought you were when we had the first ultrasound. You take it in good humor and I tell you that you were just being modest when the camera was on you. Your dad and Giddy remember that you had the umbilical cord around your neck twice and that you were as blue as a Smurf when you were born. And yet, here you are, strong and healthy and vigorous.

You have always had a strong will. When you believe you are right, you have a very hard time giving in and admitting that there could be a possibility that you might, just might, be wrong. However, you are always willing to be the peacemaker. You are quick to offer apologies and words of appeasement and comfort. Even though sometimes this insistence upon clinging to what you think is right gets you in trouble and makes me want to dip you in ketchup and eat you, I am praying that we can channel it so that when outside pressure invites you to do the wrong thing, you will stick to your guns and do what you know to be right--even in the face of everyone else disagreeing with you. That is a powerful trait, my son. I know that you can grow into it.

You have a sharp sense of humor. You are wickedly funny and sarcastic. (I cannot imagine where you got the sarcasm from.) Once, when you were not quite three, we were on a long car trip and you and Maggie were picking at each other in your car seats. I don't know exactly what you were doing, but you had been at it awhile, and your dad had had enough. From the driver's seat, he turned around and said to you, "James, do you want me to pull over and spank you?" You didn't even blink and you said, "No. I want you to pull over and spank Maggie!" Your daddy and I had to turn sharply around in our seats so that you wouldn't see us laughing. I thought he might have to pull over but only so he wouldn't crash because he was laughing so hard. We knew then that you would either be a lawyer or a comedian when you grew up.

When you find something you like, you become a bit fanatical about it. When you were two and three, you loved trains. You loved everything about them and wanted to play with and watch them. All. the. time. A little later, your mini-obsession was over building things with K'nex, Legos, and Magz. There were not enough hours in the day to build. There was a time that we watched "Wallace and Grommit" everyday. (Not that I minded this too much. I still have a soft spot for them.) Then, when we finally allowed video games in our house, that became your passion. A few years ago, you were introduced to football. It is your true love. We have watched you grow and gain confidence as you have played. This year has been your favorite so far--mine as well, because I can truly see the skills you are learning come into play in games. I can see your confidence and swagger as you joke around with your teammates. I can see your focus as you walk onto the field. I love getting a glimpse into the future and seeing the man you will become.

You are smart. And you are not embarrassed or ashamed about it. But you don't flaunt it either. You are modest as well.

You don't care for transitions and change too much. You once asked me if I could put the wallpaper back up in our house. You asked this about 2 years after I had removed it. You do come by this honestly. Your daddy isn't too big on change either, but with the help of a good and lovely woman, (yes, that would be me) he is overcoming this quirk.

You are sweet. You are quick to help. You don't argue with me very often. You have always been kind of laid back. Even when your big sister was trying to pound you into dust, you took an awful lot before you hit back. You have taken on the idea of protecting your big sister to heart and glared at her boyfriend when he was at our house and you asked his intentions. (Yes. I laughed. Hard.) But in typical James style, before the evening was over, you were friends and ganging up on Maggie in a pillow fight.

You are somewhat absent minded. I often have to remind you that when you are looking for your shoes, it would be a good idea to look down on the floor, rather than up on the ceiling. You take this in good humor. We joke that you were distracted by something shiny. "Ooooh! Shiny!!" we'll say. And then we laugh as we find the shoes that you have walked by two or three times.

You LOVE to read. You have no idea how happy this makes me. I could happily sit for hours with a book and I think you could too. You will come downstairs after you are supposed to be in bed and regale me with plot synopses. I have a hard time getting mad about this. In fact, my heart does little flip-flops knowing that you are so into a book. You were recently given a gift card to a book store for your birthday and you were exited. Your sister immediately called you a geek, but you just let this jab roll off your back and mused about what books you could buy. Did this mama's heart proud, it did!

You have been campaigning for an Air-Soft gun for a long time. I have been your biggest opponent. It was a losing battle. For me. Your dad has been much like the dad in "A Christmas Story"--excited, antsy, happy. I have been more like the mom--"YOU'LL SHOOT YOUR EYE OUT!!" You knew you were going to win, and yet you never gloated. You just waited patiently for your birthday and then shouted with glee when you opened your gift. "YES! THANK YOU!" you hollered. Then you came over and gave me a big hug and thanked me for making this your best birthday ever, promising to be extremely careful and offering to teach me to shoot.

You are an easy kid to like, Jamesy-boy. I can't wait to see what the next few years will be like with you. And just so you know, you are my favorite James.

Happy Birthday!
I love you,

P.S. Don't shoot your eye out.

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