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Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Decade of You: Happy Birthday, Drew

Dear Drew Christopher,

You're ten  years old today.  And you don't read my blog. So it's silly that I'm writing to you, but one day maybe you'll read this and maybe you'll remember today and what we did and how we felt.  And maybe you'll realize why I just went in and gave you another hug and another kiss good night even though you've been asleep for a couple of hours.  Maybe you'll understand that even though you thanked me for such a great birthday today, I needed to thank you again for being you.

I am one that likes routine.  I like schedule and list making.  I like knowing what to expect, having a plan and watching it unfold exactly as I intend.

So when you were born, ten years ago today, and the nurse said I had my third boy, I thought, "I've got this. I am an expert at boys.  No problem."

Oh, but you, my littlest boy.  You were not routine.  You would not be just the same as the other two.  You would sleep less. You would scream louder.  Your face would turn redder.  Your mama would be TIRED-ER.

I should not have underestimated your individuality.  Your uniqueness.  I should not have underestimated you.

Last spring, we went to a basketball tournament.  You were just about the smallest on your team.  Your thick goggles were wrapped tight around your head full of blazing red hair.  I had an epi-pen in my purse since you are allergic to nuts.  We had a nebulizer at home and prescriptions in the cabinets in case of asthma issues.  At first glance, you do not intimidate.  I would imagine your opponents might have thought, "I'll take that kid. #5.  I'll cover him"
As we watched the game unfold there was a particularly loud parent on the other team.  I crossed my arms and scooted as far away as I could preparing myself to be annoyed.  But then.  I listened and I started to smile and then to giggle.


You with your red hair and your allergies and your near-sightedness and your short, little legs?  You were having a heckuva game.  You don't always have a heckuva game.  But this was your day.  And this parent got increasingly frustrated with his team.  You hustled your little legs off.  You passed to your teammates and a couple of times as you launched up the ball and I cringed and thought it was a really bad idea, lo and behold that darn ball would swish through the net.  And my new favorite fan on the other side continued to yell,


That sweet man came up after the game and gave you a high five and congratulated you on a good game.  They should not have underestimated your fire, your determination, your fight.  They should not have underestimated you.

Today on your birthday your brothers and your dad had to be away at baseball tournaments.  You were stuck with me.  I did my best "Non-Lame Mom" imitation and tried to make the day special and all about you.  We had chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and I took you and two of your buddies for bowling and root beer and cheese fries.  I promised dinner anywhere you picked after your basketball practice. 

I did ask you one favor.  There was to be a big gathering for Mathias, a boy you've only met a couple of times, but a boy you know is fighting hard against cancer.  His supporters were gathering to create a human awareness ribbon on an elementary school field.  I asked if you could come with me and I was worried you would complain.  I told you it wouldn't take long, but that it was important and then we could get back to the day being about you.  You stood with me in the cold and waited as they arranged hundreds of people holding up gold papers to form the shape of a ribbon.  You met people and shook hands and waited while I talked to friends.  It took much longer than I thought. The wind blew colder than I thought.  But when I showed you the aerial photo of all of us arranged in a perfect gold ribbon, your eyes grew wide and your face gleamed awe. 

As we sat at dinner, you asked about Mathias and we talked about all the fun things we'd done today.  I asked you which was your favorite  You sipped your Cookies and Cream milkshake and said that bowling was pretty awesome.  It was maybe the best.  Then you sat for a few seconds and smiled your sweet smile over the top of your straw and said, "But making the ribbon for Mathias was pretty cool, Mom.  Like I didn't know it would be so cool.  I really didn't think it would look that good.  It was so much better than I thought.  It was really awesome. It was one of my favorite things about the day."

And do you know what I thought, Drew?  I thought I shouldn't have underestimated you.  Your heart.  Your generosity.  Your understanding of what is really important.

Happy 10th birthday, little man.  I'm so glad God gave me you.

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