Nineteen: Expectations

Dear Aaron,

This is the latest I’ve ever written a birthday post. Usually I think about it well ahead of time, and even last year, when I claimed to be behind due to Grandma’s passing, I had no idea that this year would be worse. I have no excuse for it—your birthday comes around at the same time every year!—but I like to be transparent. So there: who knows what this letter is going to look like, but it will exist.

Right now, I’m sitting in your room with Benedict, who is curled up on the desk next to my computer. He’s been hanging out with me all day, which is abnormal. Earlier, he came in and seemed to announce to me that it was time. I had already called to make a euthanasia appointment for November 1, today, but after hearing him snort and wheeze, I realized that even two more days would be too much for him. So, we’re chilling in here until the time comes. I wish you were here to say goodbye in person.

But that’s not why I’m writing. I’m writing to say Happy Birthday, of course. This year, you turn nineteen, and that is a number that makes you ancient, at least according to Melina. It also makes you a year closer to filling in four full hands. And according to Wikipedia, this is nineteen:

 is the eighth prime number, and forms a sexy prime with 13,[1] a twin prime with 17,[2] and a cousin prime with 23.[3] It is the third full reptend prime in decimal,[4] the fifth central trinomial coefficient,[5] and the seventh Mersenne prime exponent.[6] 19 is the second Keith number, and more specifically the first Keith prime.[7] It is also the second octahedral number, after 6.[8]

Full disclosure: I had to look up what a sexy prime was. Fascinating. And if you want to see what the references say, please just head to the Wikipedia article.

Anyway, back to you, Little Red. And guess what? I’m keeping this short. Yes, I wish I could hug you each day. Yes, I’d love to kiss your forehead before bed. Yes, I’d love to hear more about your classes as you stand in my kitchen. I miss having you lumber down the hallway and down the stairs. I miss seeing you cooking chicken in the kitchen. I miss the sound of your laugh when you’re watching a funny video. But I am content in knowing that you’re out there learning and growing and making your way in this world.

I expect a lot of you, Aaron. I expect you to be kind and generous and just and dependable. Hopeful and helpful and honest and humble. I expect you to be resourceful and respectful and resilient. Creative, assertive, and compassionate. You are those things already, really, and I expect to see them blossom even more during these college years. I expect to see you become a better version of the person you are. I expect you to have fun.

I love you dearly, and I always appreciate when you say I love you, so I expect you to say more of those three little words.

That’s all, Little Red. I love you, I love you, I love. Happiest of Birthdays to you.

Love, Mom.

Image of birthday candles by Waldemar on Unsplash.

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