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

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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?

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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.

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Yes, your eyes really were this big.
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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.

 

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Rocking the overalls, Christmas on Elm Street.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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A boy and his mom. GOD, I LOVE YOU.

 

gratitude-a-thon day 432: october

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My October baby. God, I love him.

It’s been in the 70’s all week. Yup, October summer. I have been sweating like a marathoner. I thought I was having a heart attack a few times. I’ve even had the air conditioning on. But today is in the 50’s. There’s no sun, but it feels more right. This is what it’s supposed to be like in the fall. I’m going to climb into a big sweater and go to Ally’s soccer game. I will be complaining about the cold by tonight. This is what it’s like to be a human barometer.

October is close to my heart. It’s the month I became a parent. After a rocky, have-sex-on-demand, temperature-taking, surgery-laden, ben & jerry’s-eating three year odyssey of trying to have a baby, I finally did. We named him Jake. I forgot you could have a boy, because I grew up with all girls, so I wasn’t sure what to do with him at first, but it wasn’t long before I realized that this little guy with the enormous eyes would change me, mold me, demand me to be better at every turn. He was worth those three years of sadness and pain, tests, and agonizing disappointment. I would do it again and more, if I knew he would be the result. He is my sun, and my son. And he is October.

gratitude-a-thon day 104: sunday with my boy

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It started with needing to get a new iphone for Jake. It ended with having spent an unexpected and perfect day with my son.

Yesterday was one of those days that I won’t forget, and worthy of a gratitude-a-thon, but not really spent doing anything that could be described as spectacular. I had a day with my boy. And while we did nothing out of the ordinary, it was exceptionally special.

Ally and Peter left for a soccer game in Maine, so they were going to be out of the picture until 10ish. Jake had shattered the face of his eye phone the day before, which needed emergency attending to, and I had also promised him some new shorts, so a shopping trip was in order. We went to the Chestnut HIll Mall for Apple triage (it wasn’t that easy, unfortunately), followed by a cruise through J. Crew and Vineyard Vines. On the way home, we stopped at Portobello Road for a birthday gift for a friend, the AT&T store, for more phone surgery, and finally La Rotisserie for lunch outside in the sun. Once home, we made the necessary calls to get a new iphone delivered to us, but found instead that we had purchased Apple care at the AT&T store, which meant we could drive back to Apple and get a phone for a tidy sum of $50. (Why exactly Apple and AT&T didn’t know this is still a question I have.) And while I was fairly sure that Apple was not open, the idea of not having a phone for the night, let alone the next day, was an impossibility that coerced Jake into convincing me to  drive my sorry ass back to the mall.

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Jake and Jessie at the BMC gala the night before.

And speaking of driving, Jake did it. Now, he does not have his license, but he is doing the necessary time behind the wheel in order to get it in the next month. Peter has been doing all his driving with him, and it was only the night before, when we went to the Boston Medical Center gala that I experienced Jake in the driver’s seat. Astonished, I had to admit, after witnessing his instincts on Storrow Drive and in the Ted Williams tunnel, that he was actually a good, solid driver. Anyway, he drove the whole day, and it was great not worrying about where my keys were, since they were in his pocket. Of course, I was right, and the mall closed at 6:00, so we got a consolation prize and headed to Pinkberry for dinner. Once home, when Jake should have been finishing his senior paper, we instead chose to watch an action movie. Neither of us wanted the day to end. We both acknowledged what a truly great day it had been, and I could tell he had the same warm and fuzzy feeling inside that I had. It was that simple, and that perfect, all at the same time.

The thing is, that I don’t just love my son in that parental way that we love our children, I LIKE HIM, TOO. He’s smart and charming and funny. And he is practically always a good time to be with. We get each other in a way that is unusual and amazing. We’re quite similar and it allows being with each other to be as easy as breathing. We talked about a bunch of stuff, some important, some just mundane. At one point, I cried about how much I would miss him, and he assured me that he would miss me too. I told him how much I liked him, and he told me how much he liked me, as well, both agreeing how different, and in some ways, more powerful this is than loving someone. He told me he couldn’t believe what amazing parents he’d gotten to have. And I believe him, because despite the early year of being in A.D.D. land with him, this kid has been a privilege and a pleasure to raise.

Anyway, that’s it. That was my day. There were lots of other moments that I will keep close and pull out next year when he is in college. But yesterday was one of those perfect days of grabbing the moment and making it sing. So grateful to know Jake. So fucking grateful to be his mom.