Ten.

My son turns ten years old today.  Ten.  A full decade, two whole hands, double digits.

How does this happen?  I think that time speeds up exponentially when you become a parent; that’s the only logical explanation as to why the last ten years have flown by so much more quickly than the ten before them.  Each stage of parenthood has been an adjustment, but a very gradual one, full of such small daily changes that they aren’t even noticed until you look back and realize they’ve occurred.  He still needs me, yes, but he needs me far differently than he did then.

I wrote a post when he turned five, and now five is a distant memory and we are on the road to the tweens.  I read over my original words again yesterday, and I cried at this part:

You are one half of my greatest accomplishment, my biggest treasure, my deepest emotion.  My everyday-moment-joy doubles when you smile and raises tenfold when you laugh.  I hurt when you hurt, and when you cry on the outside I cry on the inside.  Before we had you, I wasn’t even sure I wanted children, or had a maternal instinct inside of me.  You changed that, my love.  You showed me a side of myself that I didn’t know even existed, and a side of myself that now seems so intuitive, so fateful, so clear, so this-is-what-I-was-meant-to-do obvious.  

My biggest treasure, my deepest emotion.  All still true.

Happy birthday my sweet boy.

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The Gift of Experience

My son is turning seven this week.  I wrote a post about him two years ago, on the eve of his 5th birthday.  Now five seems like a distant memory, and I have a seven-year-old full-blown boy on my hands.  If you’ve got a child in your life, you will understand the disbelief I’m feeling that another year has flown by.  Time speeds up exponentially when you’ve measure it through the growth of children.

We hemmed and hawed about what to get him.  With Christmas just past, hand-me-downs from older cousins, and the blessing of a comfortable life, there isn’t much that he actually needs.  And while I do think that birthdays are a chance to venture beyond the “need” category and into the “wants,” I felt the unease of excess creeping in.  My heart lies in minimalism and I didn’t feel good about buying more “stuff” just to checkmark a box on the birthday to-do list.  So we did what we often do; we got him a gift of experience.

We surprised him with tickets to Monster Jam in Toronto and dinner at a restaurant afterwards.  Our Sunday was spent with two very excited children, riding the GO train, enjoying the monster truck action, and having a special birthday dinner.  The four of us were together the entire day, adding to our memory banks and learning more about what makes our children so very special, so very unique, so very much our most precious gifts.  We will remember this birthday.  And he will too.

Happy birthday to the kid that’s changed my everything.

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For Mark Freeman

We went to a friend’s 40th birthday party on Saturday night.  He’s a Phys Ed teacher, and it was a costume party- the theme being Phys Ed wear through the ages.  You can imagine the hysterical possibilities.

“Why don’t you ever blog about me?” he asked me.  “Not even a shout-out?”

“You got a shout-out when the Burlington flood happened,” I responded (you can read that here).

“Yah, but that wasn’t about me, that was about the flood,” he said.

Fair point.

So to you, Mark Freeman, I dedicate this entire blog post.  Happy birthday my friend.  Allow me to get sappy:

Mark and his wife Jacquie have become wonderful friends of ours over the last ten years.  They are the kind of people who you can count on.  The kind of people who come through when it really matters.  The kind of people who offer to help you move, who pop by unannounced for an afternoon visit, who bring you fuzzy pajamas and cozy slippers when you’re strugging the most (true story).

We love you, Mark Freeman, and we hope you had a great birthday party.  Wishing you many, many more years of health and happiness!

Now how’s that for a shout-out?!

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