How many nicknames do we have for you, anyway? I think it started when we got you home from the hospital and realized we could call you Abey-Baby. Then there was Aber-Baber and Hammie and Baby Hammer (and we ended up buying you a baby hammer, in fact, but it was Sebby who really loved it most, and we all know how that turned out). Pretty soon your nicknames started to proliferate until they bore almost no relation to your actual name (Abalone? Hamalot?)---but that's neither here nor there.
It's fun to write a letter to you that I know you'll read. I guess I know all of you kids will read my letters to you, eventually, but you'll read this one soon---maybe next time you log on to the computer to write on your own blog. Have I mentioned lately how much I like your blog? I like it because it reminds me of you. You're always changing the fonts (half the time I can't read the darn thing), changing the layouts, adding gadgets (---and let me just interject that it's all true, that stuff about how You Kids are better than your parents with technology. I always used to hear people say that and I thought it only applied once the parents were sort of . . . you know, doddering . . . but I consider myself pretty tech-savvy and you still pick up things and learn tricks I haven't even heard of!---)and so forth. You're kind of silly---okay, very silly---at times, but your blog is fun and surprising, just like you. I love seeing your pictures and reading your thoughts (and correcting your spelling . . . which is what mothers are for, right?).
Anyway, there's something so awesome about seeing you become a Real Person (which YOU thought you were from the time you were about 6 months old, but it took me awhile longer to grudgingly admit that you were one). And not just Any Person, but a Person who has good ideas and makes interesting points and makes me laugh out of not just politeness, but genuine surprise and delight. The other day when we were driving along (and have I told you how much I like having you old enough to ride beside me, instead of behind me, in the car? It's great having a navigator and entertainer right there in the passenger seat!) you saw a billboard that urged, somewhat sappily, HELP US SAVE THE CHILDREN! You looked at it and said right off, totally straight-faced, "Okay then, I'll give you some sound advice: stop doing a million abortions a year." It surprised me and made me laugh at the same time. I feel so lucky to have a son who I just love to spend time with, no matter what we're doing!
Even though I know you're a Person now, I like thinking back to those days when you weren't one. Did you know you're the only one of my babies who has had any hair, to speak of? It's true. It wasn't much by some standards, but I used to rub lotion on my hands and then pull up a little curl on top so you looked like a little cherub. I even entered a picture of you in a contest (Ivory Soap, I think?) and was totally flabbergasted when you didn't win. What WERE the judges thinking? Because you were so clearly the very cutest baby in the universe. And I still like your hair, come to think of it: it's so thick and so blond. I never could have imagined it, way back then. Looking back on your baby pictures now, I see YOU looking back at me, but at the time, I looked and saw only glimpses of what you'd be someday: thoughtful, steady, brave.
"He's a total stud," the doctor murmured to me on our way out. "You should hear the screams I usually get from kids." I smiled at him and patted you approvingly on the back, but what I was thinking as we walked out to the car is how he didn't know the half of it. No one does, really, because your true stud-liness is so humble and unassuming that most people miss it.
|Dissecting a sheep's brain. No big deal.|
presents and cards. You shovel the neighbors' snow. You scrub toilets. You say, "What can I do to help?"
your book: "No yelling." "Think of a fun game to play with Daisy." You've worked at being patient and keeping your temper, and you've worked at always apologizing when you're wrong, and now those are just things that are part of you, like your hair or your eyes. When Abe hurts someone he says he's sorry. When Abe makes a mess he cleans it up. Those are things I can just count on, and it's about the coolest feeling I've ever had as a parent, to see my son not just improving, but trying to improve---improving because he MEANS to, because he WANTS to. Do you know why that makes me so happy? It's because I know it's going to make your life happy. It's going to ensure that you have good friends and fulfilling relationships. No one can guarantee that good things are going to happen to you (though I wish I could!)---but when you're willing to always be making yourself into a better person, you can't help but bring happiness to yourself and others, no matter what hard things come your way. I love it that you are already realizing this and working hard to make yourself better all the time.
As I finish this post, you're starting up the dinner for me. (Crepes. Yum.) And I just keep thinking how lucky I am to be your mommy. To be honest, I didn't really know if I would like being a mom very much. I mean, I was pretty sure I'd find it fulfilling or satisfying or some other such noble-sounding word, but when I babysat other peoples' kids, even though they were funny and cute sometimes, I was always quite ready to be rid of them after a few hours. I wasn't sure how I'd do when I had a Totally Permanent baby of my own. But you made me into a Believer, Abe. You showed me that being a Mommy was the most challenging, interesting, absorbing, amazing job in the world, and I've never looked back. You were so darling, so sweet, so fun, that Daddy and I decided being parents was the greatest thing ever, and we threw ourselves into it with Great Enthusiasm (as shown by the five bouncing babies that followed our First Attempt). I don't think I can take much credit for you, but I sure am glad I have you. Thanks for being my Boy of Boys, Über-Abe. I love you most, most, most!