the joy of six
sweet baby boy, this one’s for you….
you don’t know it, because you are asleep now. you haven’t yet opened your eyes, haven’t yet drunk in the fact that your room is awash, as always on double-8 day, with the workings of that little sprite who slips in the window, tap-taps at the pane, checks to see that at last you’ve surrendered to sleep and to dreaming, strewn your room stem to stern, knotted your bed to the door to the bookshelf and back, created an obstacle course, a traffic jam, really, a coagulation of crinkly streamers. balloons, too. your room looks as if it suffers from pox, big, blown-up pustules of air everywhere. and posters besides. posters shouting, in all sorts of ways–ways squiggly and primitive, yes, but bursting with color and most of all heart–we love you.
you don’t know, but maybe you do, because some little clock inside of your head has been counting for months and for weeks, how many days ’til my birthday? we’ve done the subtracting since way back last august. in october we counted. in december too. on christmas, you wondered: how many days ’til my birthday?
just last night, the very last words from your mouth, or at least the last ones i heard, down the stairs, though the hall, around one bend, then two, as i sat in the kitchen twiddling thumbs, waiting–wondering how many hours it might possibly take, before, shhh, i could let in the birthday fairy, but, psst, that there’s a secret–your last words before sleep finally lassoed you, pulled you into its thick molasses-y hold, were, of course: “is it my birthday yet? how many minutes?”
psst. i don’t want to wake you, don’t want to nudge you from that sweet place that holds you right now, but it’s here now, it is your birthday.
you, the boy born in a shaft of light one hot august night. you, who beat all the odds, defied all the books, all the logic, and even the science, from way before birth. you, the egg that wouldn’t take no for an answer.
you, the light of my heart. it’s your birthday.
it’s the day for your mama, and a whole host of others, to stand back and marvel and say, oh, so that’s what a miracle looks like. that’s what appears at the end of a prayer and a plea and a not giving up, not deep deep in your heart anyway.
you, child of old lady, child thought to be trotting along at the side of your granny, you with the gusto to take it in stride, you’re just so thrilled to be here. you don’t care a hoot about some old obstetric equation.
you’re ready to leap, head, foot, and then some, into this six thing. this state of being that you’ve been awaiting, been counting toward, doing the math, well, for at least 364 days.
so now you’ve arrived.
this is six.
looks to be big, babe. looks to be real big. you’ve got that wiggly tooth down there in the front. and the alphabet’s coming together. you are cobbling words, cobbling sentences. any day now, you just might take off in the page-turning department.
first grade looms. and you know what that means? lunch, in a crinkled brown bag. one you might lose a few times. but worry not. the cafeteria lady, she has fries. and milk in small cartons.
it’s a big world now, babe. and we’re all behind you. you’ve got rooters in maine. and a love in the high desert mountains. you’ve got that high flyer on the left coast and a not so high one smack in the middle, in ohio, that is. there’s a crew in new york, and a little town in new jersey. you’ve got a grammy who comes every tuesday and thursday. for a young lad of six, you are quite covered, geographically speaking.
but way more than that, you who fights monsters in bed and builds space craft by day, you are covered in all that most deeply matters: you are loved, little boy. you are cherished.
happy day of your birth, happy day of your coming. in classic T style, you scared the behoozies out of us there at the end, on that hot august night when the room got all tense, got all filled, made me think for a minute my bubble would burst.
but, nah, not the boy who intended to be. from the start, from the get-go, you had your mind set: this was a world you were taking by storm. stand back, let him at it. no chance and no way, this boy’s not going down.
not ’til he’s reveled in all that there is. not ’til he’s shone like a bright brilliant light in the deep and the dark of the sky on a mid-summer’s night.
happy most blessed birthday to the boy who’s the light of God’s light.
forgive me. it’s a meander to my little one, but maybe somewhere along the way, it reminded you how precious is someone you love. how precious is six. how precious is the gift of defying the odds. how precious the gift of believing. pull in, cut a slice of that lemony cake, add your thoughts on the subject of precious.