My firstborn is no longer a teenager as of today. It’s also his first birthday away from us, although we’ll see him at the end of the week and celebrations will ensue. While I’m sure it’s exciting for him, it’s bittersweet for me. He’s grown, spreading his wings, exploring options and getting on with his life. His life, not as a child, but as a man, where he can make his own decisions and live with his own consequences, learn from his own mistakes.
It’s hard for me to think of him as a young adult. When I think “Alex” the first images in my mind are of him as a toddler, running through the house singing “We Will Rock You” and Eric and I trying to figure out what it was. (That went on for months until one day when we had the Queen CD in the stereo and Alex started singing along.) Then there’s the day he had tubes put in his ears. We got him home from the hospital and Eric went on to work. Late in the afternoon I couldn’t keep Alex inside any longer so I took him out to play in the yard. We’d been out about ten minutes when a couple of F-15E’s took off from the base for their afternoon training flights. Alex, who had always heard jet noise muffled by fluid, jumped up and came running, scared of the noise. Another time I was cooking dinner and the news was on in the living room. Alex was playing in there and, for reasons still unknown to me, he came into the kitchen, scowled at me, and said, “Read my lips! No new taxes!” (Actually it was “Need my nips! No new tasses!”)
There are so many stories from the last two decades, but it’s the toddler Alex stories that still make me laugh and tear up at the same time. I don’t remember much about the sleepless nights and the drama from those days, and honestly, I don’t really want to. I’m content to savor the sweet moments from his childhood when I’m not able to hang out with the man he’s grown into.
Happy 20th birthday, Alex. No matter how old or tall you get you’ll always be my little boy.