Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thirteen years ago today I was deep in back labor trying to push free my firstborn child under the watch of a bitchy nurse (who was pregnant with her first child and from rumors in the maternity ward, got all the payback she deserved for her harsh treatment of patients).   I've broken bones, had knee surgery, been concussed, sprained, strained, bruised and dumped.  Nothing, NOTHING hurt as much as giving birth to Mr. T.

After 16 hours of agony and some expert suctioning by the doctor, we discovered our first son was a BOY baby.  A perfect boy baby with all his fingers and toes and prolific amounts of hair that continued to grow thick and full of body.  (Honest to God, you'd think he was a star for Prell Shampoo, but even today the kid soaps it down with a bar of Ivory.)  We looked at him in awe for a little while after the nurses cleaned him up and passed him over, all swaddled in a blanket.  We had another name picked out--we wanted to name him Broderick, but after testing it on him, he ignored us.  Then we tried a different name and he turned the full force of his blue eyes in our direction.  In that sense, Mr. T chose his name.

He's celebrating today (a day crammed with school, homework baseball and soccer) with toaster pastries, his first cup of coffee (hated it) and a frozen TV dinner (his choice of birthday dinner) and tomorrow with a scavenger hunt for his presents.  I swore I wouldn't let the entire cafeteria sing to him at lunchtime (a sweet tradition at PS that he loathes) and IF things get rained out later (fingers crossed) I'll let him play Minecraft until bedtime.  We'll laud him properly this weekend with dinner at Red Lobster and a birthday cake.

Officially a teenager, Mr. T is really a peach of a kid.  Happy 13th, son.  Here are just 13 reasons why I love you:

You're polite, always remembering your manners and demonstrating respect to other people, even when you don't like them very much.

You love music and have an amazing capacity to memorize song lyrics.  Plus you sing along enthusiastically, which is pretty great even if I don't like your choice of radio station.

You ask thoughtful questions--about anything.  Lately you've asked a lot of questions about the politics in Wisconsin, curious about the ads and signs you're seeing and the stuff in the newspaper.  It's a point of pride for me to have a son who asks questions about stuff like politics and religion--heck, you've even asked me to explain the stock market.

You quit, but then you start over again.  I get it--it's been tough getting through the seizure meds and navigating school with a dyslexic brain.  But you're still hacking away at it, learning how to work hard and reap the benefits of persistence.

You are responsible.  As the oldest kid in our tribe, that really means a lot.

You show passion.  I'm so glad you're not one of the cool kids, keeping your emotions always under wraps and making everyone guess where you're at.  If you're happy, we know it.  Ditto for mad, sad, lonely, tired and any other feeling you get.  People love this about you--like when you'd get on base in softball and do that fist pump--it's people like you who rev the rest of us up.

You are creative.  Whether designing a comic book superhero or coming up with rules to play zombie kickball in the pool, you think outside the box.  I know not everyone values thinking outside the box, but trust me,  this will work to your advantage in the long haul.

You are strong.  You don't fully believe this about yourself yet because you're on the short end of your class (and all the girls in your class have sprouted up, messing with the natural order of things), but you can do twice the sit-ups and push-ups of most kids your age.  You can run quite well.  God has blessed you with a very healthy body.  (And you will get taller.  I promise.)

You can talk to anyone.  Our little neighbor girl.  One of your dad's co-workers.  Teenagers and senior citizens.  You handle social situations extremely well.

You try new things.  Food, games, experiences--you are pretty fearless.  (You totally get this from your dad.)

You read.  For fun.  I'm so glad to have a reader for a son.

You forgive.  The world is full of younger brothers knuckleheads and you always find it in your heart to accept apology and move on.  I've seen you do it with your brothers, your classmates and your parents.  You've nailed this biblical principal and I'm so thankful you get it.

You've got faith.  And even while you're digging into it and questioning parts of it, your faith is growing and I'm confident that God has enormous plans for someone like you.  He has thrown you struggles to build you up for a reason.  We both believe this.

Many happy returns of the day, Mr. T.  I went in your room after you fell asleep last night to say goodbye to a 12-year old because in my mind 13 is a whole new chapter.  I realized your shin is longer than your entire body was the day you were born.  Then I got all verklempt and had to hustle back downstairs and eat ice cream. 
And I felt darn grateful to have you as my firstborn.  You are a gift.


  1. Happy birthday to him! He sounds delightful.

  2. What a wonderful post.
    Happy Birthday to Mr. T and Happy Birthday to his parents.

  3. Oh, Melissa. What a beautiful post about a truly wonderful guy. Happy, happy day to all of you!

  4. Love it! I'm sure he'll be a wonderful teenager. They really can be! Happy Birthday Mr. T!

  5. Seriously. Crying at my desk. What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful dude.

    Happy Birthday Mr. T! We all adore you and we hope you have a spectacular day. Hugs from the neighbors! :)

  6. Happy 13th to Mr. T and also to you and Mr. D, since this is really your day too. <3

  7. A special day for Mother and Son. But, I don't know who should get the gifts (mother or son). But, then again, maybe the gift is the son to the mother and the mother to the son :D

  8. Happy Birthday Mr. T!!! Hope it is a fantastic day.

  9. Mr T is fabulous! Welcome to teenagehood, young man! And don't forget, you can still be Mama's baby whenever you need to :)

  10. P.S. Chas loves coffee... he's a crazily hyper-energetic boy who never slept as a baby and STILL doesn't sleep, but when he drinks coffee he gets all calm and focussed. WEIRD! He's allowed one cup a day before school.

  11. Happy Birthday to Mr. T, and welcome to the teenage years! Clearly you've got a great kid there.

  12. Happy 13th Birthday, Mr. T!

  13. Happy Birthday, Mr. T! And thank goodness for ice cream.

  14. Happy Birthday a day late to Mr T.
    I think I would like him. You're going to sail through the teen respect your boys and embrace all the "boyness" in your house.


Spill it, reader.