Tuesday, October 23, 2012


I'm sitting here at the computer after having debated the merits of older Green Day versus their new release with you, and I'm struck by the thought that I only have 4 years left with you. I mean, I know that you won't be gone forever when you leave for college, but things will have changed, shifted in a way that will draw you onward and outward and away from me. Four years. Dear Lord, that's a blink.

January 2012

And so I want to make sure to squeeze it all in while I have you here. I don't want to take any part of you for granted. I want to enjoy it all.

8 years old--First Communion. Showing us your James Bond.
I want to enjoy our conversations. You are so good at drawing people in to conversations and making them feel at home and a part of things. This is a gift that I don't have and I so admire it in you.

9th birthday
I want to enjoy your humor. You are so funny. You always have been. From the time that you were not quite three when your dad asked your misbehaving self if you wanted him to pull the car over and get a spanking, and you replied "No, I want you to pull over and spank Maggie," you have shown a sharp wit, a spark of sarcasm, and a bend toward the silly in life that draws me right in.

It seems a silly thing, but I want to remember to  enjoy the way you eat.  Because, oh!  My son, you are a master in this area. You don't have three meals, you have 5 meals every day and you seem to make the most of each one. I know that if I'm cooking, for sure I'll have at least one taker for whatever hits the plate. When I asked you what you wanted for your birthday dinner, you took a couple of days and thought about it like a man who was ordering his last meal might--selecting and rejecting menu after menu until you had arrived at just what you wanted. But when at last you arrived at your decision, you made your request with the phrase "if it's not too much trouble" at the end.

10th birthday
That's another thing I want to enjoy--your concern over how people are treated. You are (and always have been) fanatical about justice and fairness. Recently you came home from a youth group absolutely incensed at the phrasing that was used by one of the leaders. You sat down with your dad and I and we discussed things. You were passionate in your argument, vehement in your belief that people had been wronged, and ready to take on any and all comers who took the subject lightly. Oh my sweet boy, I pray that you always have eyes that see the downtrodden and brokenhearted and a heart that beats for justice!

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I want to enjoy your mess. I want to revel in your dirty socks and heaps of blankets on your floor. HAHAHAHA!! Yeah, right. But I do want to remember that I only have you here for a few years more so that I shouldn't spend that time irritated because you have to turn your socks inside out to wear them because you haven't brought them down to the laundry room and you have no clean socks to wear. Not that this has ever happened, but I could see it as a real possibility. Heh.
11th birthday. Growing out his "high and tight" buzz cut.
I want to enjoy your love of reading. I love that we discuss books. I love that we talk plots and characters over meals. I love that you'll take my recommendations, but that you have come into your own in finding books that you love and that you like to recommend books to me.

I want to enjoy watching you with your siblings. I love that you have a distinct and special relationship with each one. I love to watch you talk school and social life with Maggie. I love to watch you wrestle and talk sports with Sean. I love to watch you give Mary hints and instruction on video games when she tries to "hang" with the dudes. For that matter, I love that you will let her "hang" with the dudes.

12th birthday. From "high and tight" to "long and shaggy." Also, I promise we fed him, he just has a metabolism that I covet.
And I love to watch you with your dad. I love how you have taken on his love of cars. I love how you want to go places with him. And I love that you think you stand a chance when you take him on in a wrestling match. Someday, my dude, that power will shift. Stay hopeful, my friend.

I want to enjoy your enthusiasm--your dressing up for spirit days and vocabulary day at school, your fanaticism over the Steelers, your happiness when a new "Top Gear" is on, and just your general happiness at your place in the world. I need to learn more of this from you.

13th birthday
I want to enjoy your ready hugs, your voice cracks, your face-splitting grin, your sarcasm, your absent mindedness, your goofiness, your intelligence, your night-owl, snooze-button-hitting, twenty-minute-shower-taking, daily-pop-corn-eating self. I want to squeeze out every last drop of you that I can get in the next four years.

July 2012

Because these last 14 years? They have flown by. And they've made me so very grateful for the blessing of being your mom.

Happy 14th birthday, son!
I love you,

P.S. You are my favorite James!

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