jake-a-tude-a-thon day 346: happy birthday mr. twenty

Scan 5
I can’t believe I didn’t squeeze you to death as a baby. It was love at first sight.

To the smart, funny, wildly charming, and completely adorable Jakey,

Twenty. Two decades. You bid a fond farewell to the teens as of today, buddy.

But WHAT? Wasn’t it five minutes ago that you were running around our Davis Ave. condo, wildly taking books off the shelves in the hallway, tearing up Emerson Park, giant green eyes with foot long lashes that made people stop me on the street to tell me how adorable you were? Well, wasn’t it? Five minutes ago?

Scan 7
Bath time. You were only like three months here, but already you loved being naked.

It seems a cosmic mishap that you could be this old, which of course, is really young. but you know what I mean. I just don’t get it. And where is that little version of you? Is he in another part of the world playing Legos? I really loved that little dude. I wish I could see him again.

Scan 12
Yes, your eyes really were this big.
Scan 4
In your room, art work and “your cow” in the background.

But I know he’s in you. I see him every so often, when you are charming adults, just like you did when you were a kid. How many of our friends said of you, when you were a little guy, “I wish I could have coffee with Jake.” How many teachers told us they could just teach to you, but they had other kids in the room? You have always been a force of adorable, a meteor of charisma, a dynamic presence.


Scan 10
Rocking the overalls, Christmas on Elm Street.
Scan 15
Yup, you on the Vineyard with your good friend Sophie. You’ve always been a show stopper.


My love for you is as big as the sun and as powerful as the gosh darn internet. It fills me up, makes me better, stays with me like a shadow. Sometimes I think about how you almost weren’t, about how hard it was for the egg and sperm to do their dance, on account of my faulty insides, And I think how different my life would be, how much less it would be without you. Our connection is deep and big and real. The way we know each other’s thoughts in a glance. The way our minds work. Lucky. I got lucky that things came together in just the right way for me to have you.
To know you. To love you.

Screen Shot 2013-05-30 at 5.13.39 PM - Version 2
Switzerland,  fourth grade.

You are twenty. And intelligent, and incredible, and ready for everything. Take your time. There is time. Be a force of good. Be a leader. Go boldly, but wisely. Have fun, but be smart. Learn everything there is to learn. It will inform the rest of your life. It will make everyday richer. Take it all in. You are at the start. Be big, stay open, and laugh. Keep laughing.

Barcelona, 2014.

I am so proud of you, Jake, like billboard-on-Hollywood-Boulevard proud. You’re good inside. You’re my most special thing (you and your sister), my best thing. You can be or do anything you want to do or be. I send you out there with my love embedded inside you, to remember that when you are tired, I can be your battery, that when you doubt yourself, when you mess up, my love will still be there. Right inside your heart.

About to get your BHS diploma.

You are everything. Even more than everything. And you are twenty.

Happy birthday. I am so gratitude-a-thon grateful to be your mom. What a privilege.

Be amazing. Fight on. I love you.

A boy and his mom. GOD, I LOVE YOU.


10 thoughts on “jake-a-tude-a-thon day 346: happy birthday mr. twenty

  1. I was going to stop at the bath tub pic- but no. I did stop at the Switzerland in fourth grade pic I could care less to read any of it. Jeezzzz


    1. that’s ok, lisa. you don’t need to read it! we do all love our kids. and i have a blog to talk about it. but you certainly don’t have to read it, unless it’s just too much fun to make fun of it, that you can’t stop yourself. i feel so lucky, after three years of brutal infertility, to have kids, that i like to celebrate them.

  2. I forward your daily blog to Liz. She’s not on FB. I’m sorry I sent this inadvertently to you. ( aka by big mistake). I love the blog but sorry – not this birthday one. I know we all love our kids. Again I’m sorry Toni Sincerely, Lisa


    1. thanks for reading! my kids are something i’m always grateful for. not that they’re perfect, or super spectacular extraordinary (except to me), but because they’ve taught me everything. everything.

  3. love this toni! what a gift :). thanks for sharing your joy – your writing takes me down my own memory lane. how fun remembering but so bittersweet, too.

    happy birthday jake! you’ve always had our hearts over here at 110 davis! the sweet sweet sweet inquisitive boy with the saucer sized eyes – sooo curious about our little twins and all their funny peculiarities – you were the little man with the big questions and keen observations. blaze on jake – the world is yours. happy fabulous 20th birthday! m, s, p, j, & e xoxo

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