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Happy 12th Birthday, To My Son


My son is turning 12.

What?

When and how did this happen?

JCH will be 12 years old this Saturday at exactly 11:18 am on May 10th, 2008.

By the time you finish reading this post, JCH will probably be a whole lot closer to nineteen. (Or retirement, depending on how quickly you read.)

My son has long since been my baby. He has been an official pre-teen with a complete set of raging hormones since the day he turned 10.

As I sit here today, reflecting upon the last 12 years of my life as a mother and how much we both have grown, I am flooded with memories and emotions.

As cliché as this might sound, it really seems ‘Just Like Yesterday’ when my boy arrived unto this world. Weighing in at a healthy 9 pounds 14 oz, and 21 inches long. I remember the very first time I held him in my arms and sang happy birthday to him. I was scared to death. I had no child rearing experiences. I didn’t read any of the books you are supposed to read while pregnant; I had never even babysat for another child. When I looked at this brand new person (the one who had been kicking me all those months) everything was suddenly so wonderful, yet incredibly terrifying.

I don’t know what it is that happens to you, or how it happens to you, I cannot explain it. But from the moment I became a parent, I instinctively knew what to do. I automatically had those magical mommy powers where a simple kiss could make any and every thing better.

Now that he is older, I don’t have quite the same magical powers as I used to. He doesn’t believe in the Tooth Fairy, or Santa Clause anymore. He doesn’t want me to kiss him anymore. There is positively no way I am allowed to hold his hand in public. And, I think we are done with hugs and onto straight up ‘high fives’.

I know it is my job as a parent to prepare my son for the world ahead of him. To teach him responsibility, accountability and independence, so I can let him go, Out Into The World, and become a successful, capable, functioning adult. But sometimes I miss the days when my son was still just my baby boy.

Some of my fondest memories about JCH?

1. The very first time he had a sip of Orange Juice (with pulp). He let the sweet nectar linger in his mouth while swishing the unfamiliar texture on his tongue. And then he spit it out. He leered at my mother and said, “Who Put Feathers In My Orange Juice?”


2.
My son had his own pronunciation of words. Instead of saying “Again” he used to say “ooooo-gaaaaaine.” I still smile when I think about that.

3. When JCH was all of three years old, he encountered one of the most evil imaginary friends of all time. His name was “Jackrafire”. ‘Jackrafire’ came from a blue ‘plan-ick’ (not planet, plan-ick) and gave my son the worst nightmares. As much as I loved him climbing into bed with me now and again, every night for two months in a row was more than I could handle. (Surprisingly a three year old can really hog a bed.) After I had enough sleepless nights I decided that this ‘Jackrafire’ character must be destroyed.

I asked JCH to help me make a ‘Magic Potion’ that would send ‘Jackrafire’ back to his blue plan-ick. We spent 45 minutes in the kitchen adding any and everything to the industrial sized blender and then hit puree. We poured the ‘potion’ (which consisted mostly of Worcestershire sauce, eggs, and Tabasco) into the same milk glass used for Santa and his cookies. We left the glass out on the counter just like we would for Santa. I told JCH to go to bed and when ‘Jackrafire’ came to our house that night he would be lured to the ‘Magic Potion’ by the aroma. I promised him ‘Jackrafire’ would drink it, and certainly die from drinking it.

Having heard one too many ‘Jackrafire’ stories, I knew exactly what this imaginary freak looked like. I stayed up half the night making a costume that resembled the likes of ‘Jackrafire’, only to cut it up in tiny pieces so it would look like he melted to death, much like the way the Wicked Witch of the West came to her demise. In the morning my son awoke to a murdered ‘Jackrafire’. “Mommy, it worked WE got rid of him! Look…he’s all melted!”

We never heard from him again.

[Last story – I promise]

4.
When JCH was about 4 years old he went on a walk in the woods with my father. My parents live on a golf course so there are wonderful trails, perfect for a nature walk. The two of them used to take adventures in the woods and hunted for golf balls. One part of the trail had a slope that led to a pond. That was a known ‘hot spot’ for stray golf balls that had been hit out of bounds. My father told JCH to stay at the top of the hill and wait for him to return. But JCH hated being left alone. So, he followed his grandpa. Only as JCH was walking down the hill, he was going too fast. So fast that he couldn’t stop. He ran right down the hill and into the pond. He landed smack in the mud. But this wasn’t regular mud. Oh no. JCH thought that he was trapped in quicksand. Quicksand which would swallow him whole. By the time my father made it over to him to engage the rescue mission, it was too late, JCH was already hysterical.

I will never forget exactly what he looked like when my son reappeared from the woods. That image is tattooed to my brain. He was sobbing, covered in mud, with one sock half off and slapping the grass, while the other foot was bare. He ran towards me, arms stretched out towards me, screaming about how he almost just died. “Mommy, (sniff sniff) please hold me, (sniff sniff ) I’m soooo cold, (sniff) and I almost…DIED (sniff sniff sniff) in quicksand. Look, look at my foot…the quicksand ate my shoe and my sock…”

——-

My son doesn’t ‘need me’ like he used to. And that’s okay. That is simply the natural progression of my child evolving into a teenager.

In truth, I will never have another child. I can never go back to: the car seats, the strollers, the 84 hours it takes to pack one diaper bag, the tantrums and time outs, the amount of baby wipes and formula, the pacifier (or loosing the g-ddamned pacifier) the potty training, teething, colic. (Teething and Colic at the same time.) The really high, and really scary fevers, the eye surgery, the broken bones, and the stitches. I don’t want to relive all that yelling, crying, and screaming…. (Oh wait that part was me.) I would not do it all over again, not even for million dollars and not even with a live in nanny. However, I would not trade any of those memories for all the money in the world either.

So yeah, you caught me. I love my son.
I hate to start letting him go, but I can’t wait to see what will happen next!

(I wrote the following letter to my son, to which I am sure he will react with the now famous *eye roll*. So, I will share it with you. Maybe you guys will appreciate it.)

Dear JCH,

Happy Twelfth Birthday!!

I wanted to let you know just how grateful I am to have you in my life since the day you entered this world. While I am glad the days of the missing wooden blocks and ‘Blues Clues’ are over, I miss the days of being your superhero and your adorable tiny fingerprints left on my windows.

Your love never ceases to overwhelm me. Your incredible sense of humor can fix any bad day and I find the utmost joy in the sound of your laughter.

I never deserved you, but I thank G-d for you every day. I am not only a lucky mommy, but I am a better person for knowing you. I know your life has not always been easy, but through your strong spirit, you have managed to overcome huge obstacles and achieved greatness. To say I am proud of you; would be an understatement. I am honored to call you my son.

Now that
you are at the beginning stages of becoming a man (*body hair and all*) I wonder if you know who you are? I wonder if you are excited for what lies ahead? I wonder what you will be when you grow up? And I wonder if we will survive the teenage years together?

I sincerely hope all your dreams will become realities. I hope I am here to see them all come true. Don’t be afraid to dream big, remember to laugh often, and love with passion.

But, if you ever get stuck in the mud, or come face to face with a real live ‘Jackrafire’, you can always come back to me “oooogaaaaine”.

I love you forever,

I like you for always,

As long as I’m living

My BABY you’ll be.

I love you

Mommy.

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  • That’s pretty lovely to read. I think JCH is incredibly lucky to have such an awesome mom. The memories are wonderful. My sister turns 39 today and I think she has some great memories of her two sons and her baby girl. I hope he has a wonderful 12th birthday. And Meleah, get ready for him to start bringing girls home!

  • HAPPY BIRTHDAY JCH!!! I LOVE the Jackrafire story. You are brilliant! JCH sounds like a fantastic kid. You are a great mother, who raised a great kid. What a beautiful letter. I’m sure he will read it and have the typical teen response, but deep down know that he has a Mom that loves him more then the world. Sorry, I didn’t get here yesterday!

  • Meleah

    Patty:
    Thank you. 🙂

    Roshan:
    Dont even Go There with Bringing Girls Home! OMFG I am sooo NOT ready for THAT. *yikes*
    Im glad you enjoyed reading this post. Thank you for the lovely birthday wishes.

    Chef Mom:
    Thank you!! Jackrafire was so evil. Im just glad I figured out how to get rid of him! I hope my son knows how much I love him…but he is too preoccupied with video games, text messaging and anything that does not involve spending any time with me (for now).
    xxoo xxoo

  • Awww…my son turns 12 on May 21st.

    A lovely post and dedication to your son. And yes, you’re the best mom of the year!

  • i just read your post again, it’s so heart warming. i started out writing things to my daughter when she was in the belly stretching out my abs and when she was older. i wrote in a notebook to her, just random things: quotes i love, short life lessons and then i stopped for a while…i think you’ve given me the push again to keep writing in that book. it’s a wonderful thing for kids to have and look back on. i would also write down some of the funny stuff she did, her first word, how mom and daddy met, blah blah blah…now the kid reads over my shoulder….i gotta watch what i read and look at….she doesn’t give me any space. lol my shadow is even clearing her throat, like: would you move over please! kids. don’t you just love them to death….when they are not getting on your nerves and when they are sleeping. lol

  • oh, yo mamma has a website. how cute and you don’t mind her commenting here. i think i would shut my blog down if my mother left me a comment. lol. i love her and we get along, but….over there. i don’t even think she knows i have a blog and i’m not telling either. she just checks email.

    to keep this on topic, hi JCH, hope you enjoyed turning 12.

  • Harry

    Little Dood U rock man!

    So does your mom!

    Just one more year and u will be a teen dood!

    🙂

    Happy B-Day!

  • Happy Birthday JCH! What a lucky guy you are to have such a terrific mom! That’s a gift in itself.

  • Happy Birthday JCH – The first 12 years are the hardest so life should be pretty easy from here on out. Enjoy your B-Day!

  • Elena

    Happy Birthday lttle cousin. I hope you have a wonderful day. With our crazy family, I am sure you will. I hope we will see you soon. My Dad’s swimming pool is almost ready for all of us to go swimming again. Rebecca says “Happy Birthday!”

  • Meleah

    Dazd:
    Aw. 12 is terrifying. I cant even IMAGINE what a wreck I will be when our boys start to DRIVE.
    Thanks for your bday wishes.
    xxoo

    Valerie:
    Aww. I am so touched that you came back to read this post again. I think you should write / keep track of all of the things your daughter says and does. Like you said “i think you’ve given me the push again to keep writing in that book. it’s a wonderful thing for kids to have and look back on.”

    HELL YES

    And Yes…my mother does have a website. She has created new cartoon characters UNLIKE anything you have ever seen in your life. They are brilliant, and amazing. I was lucky enough to GROW UP ON THEM.

    PLEASE feel free to GO OVER TO MY MOMS SITE anytime. Take a look around. I think you’ll enjoy it.

    (Oh BTW, my mother reads my blog every day first thing in the morning. It used to freak me out, but now? I love it.)

    HARRY:
    JCH will be happy to hear from you. Thanks dood!! 🙂

    Rolando:
    xxoo xxoo

    Larry:
    Hey you! Miss you. Thanks for the birthday wishes.

    Elena! Yo Cuz!
    We will certainly see you guys over this summer at VICS and the pool. You know now that I am responsible for making all of the family movies since I am no longer the “self proclaimed” turned into the “OFFICIAL” family historian! xxoo xxoo

    PS: Your comment means a lot to JCH. xxoo

  • Great Memories! Love the OJ one…

  • Meleah

    CR369:
    Oh I LOVED that one too. I mean, JCH decribed the texture of OJ with pulp perfectly…it really does feel like FEATHERS are in it.

  • Happy B-Day JHC. And thanks for sharing these great stories. For the record I don’t much care for OJ with pulp either.

  • Meleah

    Ricardo:
    Thanks man. OJ with pulp = yucky

  • Al

    Happy Birthday JCH.

    What a beautifully written post.

    Love
    Al

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