Friday, April 06, 2007

Birthday #8

What follows are topics of conversation between Brayden and I yesterday:

- What 9/11 was
- What happened to the planes and passengers
- Why the pilots chose to kill themselves
- The names of some of the bad guys we're at war with
- Why we're allies with England when we fought with them during the Revolutionary War
- Why we fought the Revolutionary War
- What "allies" are
- Who our allies were during World War 2
- Who Adolph Hitler was
- Concentration camps, and how many were killed, who was killed, and why
- Why America joined World War 2 (Pearl Harbor)
- How we ended up ending the war (the bomb)
- How innocent people died
- The size of the biggest states of the US
- How close the tip of Alaska is to the tip of Russia
- What countries let you talk about Jesus
- How some countries oppress their women (and what we've tried to do to help)
- What kids are like in Kenya
- Why they liked my hair so much when I was there
- How much the average person makes in Kenya
- Why Brayden's birth and delivery hurt so much
- How Brayden was so big, always hungry, and had a frog belly
- Whether or not Chip and Dale are brothers (twins) or friends (I definitely say twins)
- That Brayden had an increased risk for Down Syndrome and therefore, why we couldn't wait to meet him
- How I once confused my reflection in a mirror when I was a kid for Michele being with me
- How many times I've celebrated at Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour
- The different ways he's celebrated his birthday and which one was his favorite............

How about that - I know I've forgotten a bunch, but yesterday was definitely a conversation-heavy day with my little man. And, I loved every minute of it. Because of John's boot camp and that his knee was hurting big time, the kids and I all slept in Mikayla's room (Brayden on a mat next to the bed). Mikayla fell asleep fast, but Brayden and I just kept chatting - and I found myself thinking of this future post and how fitting the timing of it all.

Eight years old is a big deal to me. There has always been a big mental jump between the 7's and 8's of any decade - and particularly thinking about my oldest getting to that age. In my mind it represents a scary age - he'll be the age where he'll rebel, not want to show love to his parents, want nothing to do with us, and want to put aside any cartoons, childhood beliefs, and special family events for all things grown up and cool. Clearly, I worry about such things. But, one thing I keep coming back to, over and over again - and I feel so strongly I'm going to caps - ALL CHILDREN, HUSBANDS, WIVES, PARENTS, MARRIAGES, FRIENDSHIPS, AND RELATIONSHIPS ARE UNIQUE AND DIFFERENT - AND NO SET OF GENERAL "RULES" WILL EVER COMPLETELY APPLY...... As it is with Brayden. Why I wasted my time worrying is just silly, because, even though he turned 8 today, he is still my most wonderful Brayden.* He hasn't rebelled, goes out of his way to be affectionate in public with us (it was obnoxious the way he wanted to make clear he was holding my hand while I volunteered yesterday in his reading group), desperately longs for "special family activities", LOVES cartoons - particularly the fun Disney ones of my youth, still believes in Santa, the tooth fairy, and the Easter bunny (though I'm sure we're on the edge....), and doesn't seem in a big hurry to grow up. However, I do think he likes to be considered cool..... (who doesn't?) - but, so far, not at the expense of anyone else...... Man, I love this kid.

I remember asking my mom one day what age she most enjoyed parenting us (we were probably 12). She said she didn't want to make it sound cheesy, but she loved each year more and more as we got older. I didn't get that at the time, and frankly, as a parent, I've thought about that a lot and wondered if it could really be true. But, right now, I'm starting to understand, more days like yesterday, and I think I'll totally be agreeing with mom.

* In light of all of this praise, let me make it perfectly clear that I know we'll be having rough times ahead and my son is far from perfect - I think the point is, let me not overly worry about it, but cherish each day we have......


stephietoo said...

Happy birthday buddy! I can't believe it has been 8 years. It still feels like it was yesterday when I was holding him for the first time at a couple weeks old..... I love you little man! - Stephie

chele said...

We love you and we're so very proud of you!
We're looking forward to celebrating with you tomorrow. :)