... Nine months in the making. We were in Flushing, New York. You were a few minutes old and you were already taking it all in, turning your head and looking around.
We've been through a lot, you and me. I've been frustrated, and you have, too. There are things you haven't wanted me to do, like sing, or laugh at the funny yet profound things you say on occasion. There are things I haven't wanted you to do, like repeating lines incessantly from the movies you've watched maybe once or twice, or running around and insulting everybody with those same lines. These are things that will have to be negotiated upon on a regular basis. It's a given that, on occasion, parents will be embarrassing their kids and vice versa.
What I love about you: your mischievous smile. Your kid sense of humor. The ability you have to ask pertinent questions, to grasp an idea out of the blue and turn it over and over again until you have understood it. How secure you are in who you are. How much of a fun guy you can be.
You love books. That imagination of yours works overtime. Your storytelling abilities are incredible. If I could count how many tales you have woven around Skipper the penguin...well, I'm sure I'd have obtained a serious children's book contract by now. All that money would go right into your bank account.
You are a singer and a lover of music. Can't get enough of the soul music, especially, but your mind is wide open on the many types of music out there. I want to get that Crossroads program we saw the other night on PBS, just so I can hear you say, on seeing Johnny Winter doing his thing, "Look at his tattoos, Mom! He's a rock star!" I would be able to see you checking out Sonny Landreth, Robert Cray, and B.B. King and saying, "I wanna play guitar like those guys!!!!!!"
It's all within your realm, kiddo. Don't ever think it isn't.
I've survived a lot raising you, and you've survived as well. We survived your broken leg at eleven months. Your sniffles, sneezes, and fevers. Your shots at the doctor's office. Dental checkups. Goose eggs on the forehead. You're still intact, and so am I, but I'll never stop worrying. That's built into my job as your mom. Live with it.
We moved down here, and though New York has still imprinted itself upon your early years (trying to chat up a little girl in Whole Foods a while back, you said "Hi! I live in New Orleans! I'm from New York!", only to have her say, "No, you're not!!!" Can't win 'em all...), you are getting into the swing of things here in New Orleans, despite your constant admonishments for us to "move to a brand new house". We've repainted the old one, kid. Relax.
You are quite the traveler. Quite the talker. Quite the growing guy.
Happy birthday, little man.