I thought about trying to write this letter in the manner we converse nowadays. If I did that, it would go a little like this—
Me: Good morning, kiddo.
Me: That’s it?
Or it might look like this . . .
Me: Hey, how was soccer?
Me: Anything else?
Or maybe . . .
Me: Here you go. I went ahead and grabbed this for you.
You: . . .
Me: Thanks, Mom. You’re the best. I really appreciate you.
You: . . .
Me: Someday, you’re going to miss me.
You: . . .
—and I doubt anyone would read it. Shoot, I wouldn’t want to read it, and one of my favorite things to do in the dark morning hours of winter is to pull on a warm blanket of old memories by reading blog posts. We won’t continue down that line, but I will say this: I hope someday you have a child just like you, and when that happens, I’ll be there, laughing at you and pointing you in the direction of this birthday letter.
This sort of behavior has been going on for a while, and years ago, on the occasion of your fourteenth birthday, I wrote something similar about your ability (or is it inability?) to hold a conversation with me. At that time, your tone was an issue. Now? Well, I’d just like to have some words. Real words.
Of course, no sooner did I write that and you walked in, spouting an entire litany of words that made sense! Modern Civilization. Best teacher ever. Philosophy. Theories, hypotheses, dogma. Ideology. And I stood there, listening with interest, knowing that I would probably not remember a single thing you said because it was evening time and my brain had already closed for the night. So after hearing you speak (so many words!), I smiled and gave you a hug.
Your response? Eh.
So that’s it, Little Red. Eh. Instead of telling you how much I love and admire you, how proud I am of you, how incredibly amazed I am at your patience and skill, how nice it is to snuggle with you (when given the chance), how difficult it is to realize that I have less than two years left with you in my home or how much I already miss you now that you have a job and a girlfriend (meaning, far less time for me), I’m just going to say eh.
No Happy Birthday. Just eh. And if you want to interpret that as Happy Birthday go ahead.
P.S. I was reminded by your aunt that you have this lovely little picture posted on one of your apps. Sometimes, I want that little guy back. He talked to me (all the time).