I want to tell you a secret. I know it’s your exam week and you probably hate that. But (I’m so sorry to admit this) I really kind of love it. I love that you get dismissed early each day after your exams are completed so you can come home to study for the next ones. I love the private time we get together and the opportunity we have to grab lunch and just talk without anyone else around.
Remember yesterday when that sweet, older lady saw your Jesuit shirt and came over to our table to ask about the school? I wanted to hug her and kick her all at the same time. (Don’t worry. I would never actually kick an old lady.) It was clear she was sad. It was clear she missed her grandson (a Jesuit grad) who was now halfway across the country. And it was clear she wanted me to ‘Carpe Diem’ my time with you. She needed a hug. Still, I wanted to shout at her …
“Thank you, well-meaning stranger. But you are KILLING me! I KNOW he’ll be gone in a just a few years. I KNOW it all goes by so fast. And I KNOW one day that he, too, might move across the country. So PLEASE LEAVE and let me enjoy these few minutes while I can!”
Of course, as you know, I just smiled and nodded. Because I could see the sadness in her face. And the tears in her eyes. Well, that and because I’m not the meanest person ever.
Anyway, I think I AM going to take this opportunity to ‘Carpe Diem’ and stop what I’m doing to appreciate you on your 15th birthday. (Seriously, you really need to stop growing.) I did it for Vivien on her 12th birthday. Now it’s your turn.
15 Reasons I Love My Son … on his 15th Birthday
- You have one of the most contagious laughs I’ve ever heard.
- When other people really need your help, you give it … without having to be asked.
- You’re close with your sister. She loves you more than you will ever know.
- You’re neat. Don’t think that inherited trait isn’t appreciated by me.
- You’re a much better student at this age than I was.
- You have an athletic ability that I’ve never had. I envy that.
- You’re curious. And you have been for as long as I can remember. You want to know why things happen, why they don’t or sometimes just why.
- People naturally like you. I’ve heard it all my life. Other parents roll their eyes when I talk about problems involving you as if to say, “Dean??? Please.”
- You repeatedly put up with my requests to help pick out a Halloween pumpkin, Christmas shop and watch movies with Vivien and me.
- You love your cat and genuinely want to help with his care.
- You really talk to me, your dad, your sister, your grandparents, etc. Never stop doing that, please.
- You remember things. Sure, this might not always be in my favor. But, ultimately, it’s what earned you one of your earliest nicknames (Rain Man) and it lets me know you’re paying attention.
- You like cooking and preparing food. We used to think you were going to grow up to be a chef. I like it because it’s something we can do together.
- You’re polite. Which makes me feel like I’m doing something right. Even though we both know I probably had nothing to do with it.
- You’re a constant reminder to me that I need to slow down. Thirty minutes to brush your teeth? Why not? (P.S. You’ve never had a cavity. Thanks for that.)
After I made my list, I realized I had actually come up with too many reasons and I had to cut it back. Now THAT’S a good kid.
Happy birthday, Dean.
I loved you then. I love you now. I’ll love you always.