Today my oldest son turns twelve years old.
Twelve years since I hugged his wee baby self in a hospital room in Virginia. His Monday night birth caused us to miss Riley’s third grade recorder recital. A recorder recital. With twenty third graders. Playing their plastic recorders. (And Bergen’s been bringing good gifts like that our way his entire life.) Ironically, the delivering doctor had a daughter in Riley’s third grade class as well. A third grade fellow recorder player. He, also, offered his sincere thanks to our freshly born son.
The very next day after Bergen was born, he and I alone in a hospital bed, staring at one another and memorizing the other one’s face, I immediately felt the crushing weight of time. The weight heavier than I had felt with any of the girls before him. I’m not sure I can explain it adequately. The weight of his seven pound life in my arms, for certain. And – the weight of how lightning quick the less than twenty years he would likely spend in my home would rush by. I cried. (Because I just gave birth to a baby, for the love.) I cried because I already knew that Bergen, this tiny boy dressed in a white onesie with built in fist covers, would eventually grow up to be a man who would meet a woman who would one day tell me that she knew my son better than I did. And, she would be right. (What? Every mother doesn’t fast forward twenty some years ahead on the second day of her son’s life??) Welcome to my version of
I think with daughters there is an underlying belief that they are somehow always ours. That our connection will be upheld through marriage and babies, through job changes and cross country moves. That our daughters just somehow stay our daughters, regardless of whether their last name changes or their address switches.
But with sons, well, it feels different. It feels like they are on some sort of loan system and they will be recalled one day, just when they are finally remembering to shower daily and put their shoes somewhere besides the kitchen floor. And then they’ll be all heart attached to another woman who isn’t their mother and OF COURSE this is natural and right and all things wise and good. (I want my boys to get married. To live in their own homes one day. Obviously.)
Living with this knowledge, however, makes all the birthdays a little more bittersweet. But, you know what, if parenting can be described as a flavor, bittersweet is the only one that fits the menu.
I love Bergen. Being his mother is a highlight. Sunshine in my days. His humor is spot on, his laughter is infectious. He is affectionate and kind. He’s tender and very aware of the rise and the fall of all of the emotions of all of the girls that live in his house. His preferred status in attire is filthy and his preferred state of being is up in a tree. He reads science books for fun and books filled with facts about planes and spaceships and birds and rain clouds. The boy is always up for adventure and he still doesn’t mind if we hold hands on occasion.
Bergen Hawkeye, now you can sit in the front seat and I’m looking forward to you having your turn as Navigator on our road trips.
Happy Birthday to my favorite twelve year old in the entire universe.