My oldest baby recently had a birthday. He's at the halfway mark to driving. I thought, at one time, that I would never have a child, much less an eight-year-old. He's drawing ever so close to that "tween" era. This is so unfair. I'm not even 31-years-old.
He likes video games. He says "dude." Farts are hysterical. Girls are weird, but not as weird as they were last year, and especially not that one in his co-op class. Don't dare call him cute; he prefers "cool." Can he also borrow my leg-shaving cream so he can shave his face with his plastic yellow razor?
Aside from all of this, he has a capability for compassion that quite literally stuns me into silence. He's kinder than most adults I know. Whenever I think that I can't be prouder of him he proves me wrong; I often find myself remarking in silent wonder, "How did I get so lucky?"
I sometimes ask myself if it's tougher to be his parent or for him to have me as a parent. I have rules and high expectations for his character; I want it to stretch and meet the bar his father and I have set for both boys. And he does. I have so much respect for him.
We went into this whole parenting thing with a couple of wits and a prayer. Of one thing we knew we were capable: the ability to love him more than anyone else in the world could love him. This continues to guide our actions.
In eight more years his social circle will be operating independent of ours. He'll start practicing for that day when he drives away for good. The most painful thing about starting a family so young is that they seem to grow up much too fast. Thankfully, we have years yet. I'm glad because while I gave him roots, I'm not quite ready to give him wings.
Happy birthday, Liam.