Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Special Birthday Wish

Today, my youngest son is seven years old. I can still remember how excited my wife and I were as the date of his arrival drew closer. We were both excited and worried about how our home would adjust to a second child (third if you count me, which you probably should).

My eldest son was but seventeen months old and didn't quite grasp the significance of what was to happen. He was about to have a best friend for life, even though he already refuses to admit it. But he must have known his little brother was something special, because the first time they met, two days after we went to the hospital for his delivery, he tried to share his french fries with the new baby. They have been thick as thieves ever since.

My wife had a more difficult delivery with our second son than our first. While he's not a problem child by any stretch of the imagination, it fits his personality in a way. My wife always refers to our eldest son as her Tuesday morning baby and our youngest as her Friday night baby due to the times of day and day of the week each was born. She also uses this to accurately describe the differences between their personalities. Our youngest son will enter a room with more reckless abandon. He's the first to start wrestling with my wife and also the first to cuddle with her. She loves and appreciate his fearlessness. She adores his straightforwardness both with aggression and affection.

As for me, despite my (over-)willingness to play with toys or video games with them, I tend to be more of the disciplinarian with my boys. While my eldest will take a scolding and walk away ad go on with his life, my youngest son is more apt to give me a look with his big, brown eyes and break my heart. Sometimes he'll just say, "You're being mean," and it brings me back to Earth and reminds me that they are just kids, and good kids at that.

But just as my youngest son gives me a look and makes me feel like a heel, he turns around and praises me for things I do right. He'll go out of his way to tell someone they did something good. You never have to tell him twice to give someone who was nice to him a hug. A few months ago at school, he wrote this and reaffirmed that my relationship is nowhere near as adversarial as I feared:

Perhaps most impressive is my now seven-year-old's self awareness. He's an amazing, bright, compassionate and happy boy. And on the same sheet of paper, he summed up the aspect taht described him best:

Happy birthday, little guy. I'm proud to call you son and I can't wait to see the kind of man you will grow up to be. But please take your time.

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