Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy Birthday, Evan!

Oh, this boy came into our lives--the final puzzle piece of our family--16 years ago today and none of us have ever been the same.  He arrived on this, the first day of spring, and being the considerate child he is, he came at 7:30pm, just in time for me to recover slightly and still make my all-important 9:00pm bed time.

Evan came out of the womb fully intending to make the most of this experience and he navigates these waters very well, only occasionally using his brother and his parents as rudders when the waters get deep or rough.  

We learned early on that Evan would do things in his own way and in his own time.  When he was five or six he wanted us to take the training wheels off his bicycle and we told him no.  Just a week earlier he had begged us to take them off.  We had done so, but he found that he still needed them.  This time we told him that we were not going to take them off again, that he needed them for a bit longer, and we would take them off when the time was right.  He immediately went out to the garage, found some tools and took them off himself.  Then, he insisted we go to the parking lot near our house so he could ride his bike.  We went, his father carrying the tools and the wheels to replace when Evan would, once again, figure out he couldn't ride without them.  He climbed on his bike; I held on to his bike seat and ran with him for about fifteen seconds until I felt him pulling away.  He rode off on his own, never looking back.

 At 16, Evan's a very cool kid. and I really like being his mom. He has developed a killer sense of humor, is still incredibly persistent, and can be maddeningly stubborn at times. He has a way with older people, showing a genuine interest in their lives while smaller children can drive him up a wall.  He can be impatient and impetuous, sarcastic and irreverent, compassionate and empathetic.  He is a whirlwind of activity, bouncing balls in the house, talking up a storm, his ipod Touch, his constant companion.  As a teen, he is sure to point out any inconsistencies in my speech or behavior and his favorite piece of advice for me is to "Calm down."

As the youngest child of my family, I remember how frustrating it was when people expressed a kind of sorrow at my growing older.  Why were they lamenting the very thing I was celebrating?  Now, as a mother, I have that tinge of sorrow at seeing this boy of mine stretch into manhood.  As proud and happy as I am that I have been given this gift of watching Evan grow, I know that little boy from the past now exists only in my heart where I keep those memories alive and safe. 

For Evan's sixth birthday party, we planned a party at the park near our house, arranging for a  Jolly Jump and inviting his friends from school. The party was not until 1:00pm, but the morning of his party he awoke early and, in typical Evan fashion, was frenetically excited about the upcoming event. He nearly drove us crazy throughout the morning as we prepared. He danced around the house, he ran back and forth between the park and the house, he kicked balloons around the living room floor, all the while talking, talking, talking.

About a half an hour before his guests were scheduled to arrive, he sat down to watch TV and immediately went into a deep sleep, worn out from his self-induced frenzy.  He slept so soundly that even our bustling about did not wake him. The Jolly Jump people came to the park and put up the bright red jumper shaped like a dinosaur. Guests started to arrive, and I went to the park to greet them. When nearly everyone was there, I called Dan to wake Evan up and send him down. I will never forget watching my blond-haired little boy exit our house, turn toward the park, stopping only briefly to see the Jolly Jump that had spring up, his friends all waiting for him. Then he started running, full force, toward the park, toward his guests, toward his party. 

Suddenly, silently, my heart filled with this whispered mother's prayer: 
May this be the way you always approach, 
not only your birthdays, 
but your whole life too. 

May you always run with enthusiasm and energy, 
the wind in your hair, 
your strong legs carrying your healthy body through life.  

May you always be ready to join in, 
to participate, 
to be grateful to be at the party. 

And may there always be 
a colorful throng of people gathered around you, 
inviting you in, 
cheering you on, 

celebrating all that you are. 

Happy 16th Birthday, Evan.  


Happy Homemaker said...

I remember that little guy, full of energy and enthusiasm! He isn't so little now, but he carries with him, that zest that he had, as that boy running towards his party!
Happy Birthday, Evan!

Anonymous said...

happy birthday, evan!!

Susan said...