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Posts Tagged ‘bitter sweet’

‎You’re seven today. In less than two hours it will be official. You’re very precise about these things, even asking me to find your watch so you can make note of the exact time at school.

9:11 a.m.

Right about now, seven years ago, we were still trying to get used to the idea that you were coming today, a couple of weeks earlier than planned. We left the house in a bit of a rush a few hours earlier, forgetting your sister’s shoes as we carried her, half asleep, out the door to the car to be dropped at grandma’s house on the way to the hospital.

We chatted about baby names on the way, in between contractions. We were still waffling on a girl’s name. Soon enough we would realize we wouldn’t need one anyway.

In a way it seems like only yesterday, the memories and feelings of those first moments and hours with you seem so clear. Sometimes I can’t recall things that happened last month or last week but almost every minute of that day seems etched in my mind forever.

And then I look at you now, at seven (or almost) and can’t believe it’s you. I see you run around with your friends, learn to ride a bike, meander along the sidewalk on your way to school, your backpack bouncing every step of the way, and I almost lose my breath.

Last year you played hockey for the first time, falling down every second step but always getting up one more time than you fell down. This year you decided you wanted to be a goalie and, admittedly, I wasn’t sure. But you did it. You made the top level competitive team in our area and skated out there every day, padded up in so much equipment that I often wondered how you could move at all, let alone stride from side to side and end up doing the splits.

In your final game, one your team needed to win for the championship, you played the overtime and then the referee announced it would go to penalty shots. I looked at you down on the ice, all alone in your net, and I wanted to yell at them to stop, that you were only six and couldn’t possibly be expected to do this.

But you did. And when you made the final big save and your team went and scored at the other end I could see your grin from ear to ear, even through the bars on your mask.

And suddenly, in my mind you were eight months old again, sitting and splashing in the tub; two years old again, tottering around the house with an ever-present apple in your hand; four years old, heading off for your first day of school; six years old, graduating from senior kindergarten.

Perhaps that is the way it always is for parents. While those around us see our kids as who they are, in that moment, we can’t help but see them as they were, the previous versions of themselves all rolled up together.

So you’ll have to forgive me if today, when you blow out your candles, you look up and see a few tears in my eyes. I’m not sad, I promise. I’m just so proud of the little boy you have become and so excited to see what comes next.

Happy Birthday Buddy.

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