Thursday, January 21, 2016

19


I was lucky this year to be able to celebrate your birthday with you, and it was such a busy day, from the moment we woke up. By the time we tucked into the couch later that night to watch a DVD, it seemed we'd fit in several days of celebration. As the movie was starting, I remember I turned to you with my Oh-No moment, as I realized I hadn't celebrated your birthday online yet. To which you responded that I better wish you happy birthday on Facebook or everyone would think I'm a terrible mother. We had a good laugh about it at the time.

But now, two weeks later, it's still bothering me that I never posted on Facebook.

I know, I know. 

It's just sort of, really, definitely weighed on me that I haven't publicly celebrated the new year of your existence yet. I mean, okay yes,  I've started to care little about what other people think over the last couple years, finally. And while there's so much to be gained by sharing with people and friends on the Internet, I've focused more attention and energy on those I love and those present in my life here and now than on people online whom I've never shared my cell phone number with. The people I care about most I reach out to, either in person or by phone or even by text, where our conversations can be more fluid and alive. And yeah, if you're sitting right beside me, it's kinda stupid to tweet at you, and I feel compelled to resist the reality of what our culture has degraded to, forgetting how to interact without a like button. Still. It started weighing on me that I hadn't publicly celebrated you.

Honestly, I've gone back and forth on this. You've never been the type to crave attention or public acknowledgement of any kind, not of your achievements or of the love that is felt for you. Sometimes you've even been mortified by it. (Need I point you to your sixteenth birthday, in which I crazily converted every inch of the first floor into a veritable winter wonderland for you and all your friends and made an insane number of gourmet white cupcakes and enough food to feed North America and you just kept sighing over and over, this is over the top you've done too much you went way overboard . . . ?) But, I don't know. I guess what I feel for you is just so big, like that big. And I know how special you are, and not just because you're my kid.

You're the kind of person that makes everyone glad to know you. You are trustworthy and kind, so kind. You are gentle but honest, always striving to do right. I've always known you to be this beautiful old soul with this strong moral compass and a well-honed sense of justice. You are a thinker, through and through, logical but first compassionate, giving people the benefit of the doubt, always, choosing love every time, even when your little sister drives you nuts. And you work so incredibly hard. You are intelligent, yes—there's no debate there. But you have a passion for learning and this drive that keeps you burning the candle long after others have quit. This is evident in your brilliant skills as a pianist, and in your straight A's your first semester as a neuroscience major with some of the toughest weed-out classes out there. I am so proud of you, so blessed, and so thrilled to be your mom.

When you were first born, I didn't understand why me. You were so special, and I was just a stupid kid who had made one mistake after another, and I was so clueless, so not cut out to be your someone special. But some things you just can't question, because they are so ultimately right. And there's not one thing that I would change, because it has all led to you, here, in this life, as you are, so perfectly made. You have this amazing potential inside you to change our world. The research you're doing now, this cutting-edge neuro-psych stuff that is way over my head—who knows where it will take you and the things you will discover. But even if you choose another path and you don't cure all the brain disorders or bring about world peace . . . whatever you choose to do, wherever this life may take you, you have altered my world irrevocably, teaching me to love with a love so big that it haunts me not to share it.

So indulge me for just a moment.

Happy birthday, my beautiful Bigger Bean. May this be your best year yet.

Loved.