Friday, September 13, 2013

Da Count-Da Boy

I nuzzle your newborn cheek,
inhaling your innocence,
sighing out my thanks,
savoring the softness of your skin.
I realize one day
your cheek will scratch mine.
I wrote that poem many years ago.  It expresses my thoughts on the day my son was born.  That was eighteen years ago.  Although he was by no means a tiny baby at 9.5 lbs he just plain dwarfs me now.  He stands 11 inches taller than I do.  More than the size of his body I am struck by the size of his heart.  During his teen years he has worked in local soup kitchens, gone to Coney Island, New York to work with the homeless, spent significant time in New Orleans doing post-Katrina recovery work, traveled to a Navajo reservation and kept in contact with some young athletes there as a means to encourage their continued development in sports, and this summer he went to work in an orphanage in Haiti.  Am I bragging on him?  Yes, I think that's a fair accusation.

He's the youngest of my kids and the quietest personality of them.  His two older sisters are the types who can fill a room and in our house it has often been suggested he had not one but three mothers, although I have reminded his sisters more than occasionally over the years that the position is filled and they can just relax and be sisters.  At times as the youngest sibling he felt a bit like he was in their shadow but I'd say he's been able to cast his own.

Although, I pondered the metaphorical prickliness of having a son when he was born he's been a really even-tempered guy for the most part.  We all have our moments and Isaac certainly has his, generally he is pretty easy to get along with.  He doesn't like conflict and avoids people who like to stir the pot.

In spite of the fact that he likes to slack on schoolwork and only does his laundry about once a month (listen, I don't want you coming away thinking I believe this kid is perfect) he does have a work ethic.  He roofs with his dad and helps bring hay in for a farmer friend in the summer.  Both of those jobs are hard work involving long, hot, sweaty days.

He makes me laugh.  Sometimes it's with wordplay.  Sometimes it's with his willingness to act like a complete doofus in public.  Sometimes it's because even though he's really intelligent he can be quite oblivious.  Often it's his great appreciation for irony.

So by and large, there has not been too much "scratchiness" to endure in terms of his personality.  Instead it comes from knowing my baby, my last child, is now eighteen.  It comes from knowing he is pulling away, anxious to get on with his own life on his own terms (or so we all think at this age). It comes from watching him wrestle with himself over which direction to take.  It comes from knowing Mr. Lime and I are no longer parenting children who adore us simply because we are all they know, but we are parenting young adults who have their own goals, and plans for achieving them.  Fortunately, there is a great deal of soothing to be had in a youngest child who is not prickly in nature and who has a genuine decency about him.

Happy birthday, Isaac.

11 comments:

Tabor said...

He looks happy, healthy and smart...that is all you can ask for when we send them out into the world. I think his variety of experiences has given him a wealth of resources to draw upon as he faces the challenges ahead.

Bijoux said...

He is freakin adorable! Happy birthday to your son!

And now I miss my son even more. Enjoy this last year of high school with him.

Stephen Hayes said...

They grow so fast. It's hard to believe our little boy is thirty-three. Happy Birthday Isaac. You do your Mamma proud!

joeh said...

Sounds like you have done your job well!

Logophile said...

That first one looks a lot like Mr. Lime and the second one looks a lot like you. In recent photos it seems Isaac is a gorgeous combination of both of you and gorgeous in his own right, inside and out.

Laughter, indeed.
Happy birthday.

Saz said...

OH my dear..where has the time gone indeed...
i empathise truly I do...my son Patrick turned 19 in the summer, just one day before he leapt across the atlantic to up state new york for his 2nd year of uni...I miss him. even though he has already been away from me for a year....

he too is my last born, my baby...my man child...my hero..

love, labours, lost...

and found..
god I love the very bones of the child...

keep him safe for me..

really lovely post...xxxx

sazz

Craig said...

Happy Birthday t'yer boy!

Hilary said...

Awww lovely words from Mama to Son. Happy Birthday, Isaac and congrats to you and Mr. Lime for raising three wonderful people.

Jocelyn said...

I'm incredibly excited to know what he will choose to do next. I'm envisioning Wilderness Firefighter.

Tell me if I win.

Kat said...

AWWWW!!!! What a wonderful and amazing kid, excuse me, MAN. Wow. You have every right to brag on him. He sounds like every mother's dream for a son. What a guy.

Happy Birthday to you awesome son!

Jackie said...

I came away from reading this with a warm heart, Lime.
I have one son (37)..and the "Mama's heart" in me hugs you as you celebrate another year in your son's life. May God continually bless him in all aspects of his life.