Thursday, January 03, 2013

To my muse on his eighth birthday

When I first discovered a life growing in my belly, I was filled with a fire, a compelling desire to do something big, to change the world! As my belly grew (and as the pages of the this blog describe), I didn't really have a clue. Not how to begin, nor that the biggest battle I would fight would be with myself.

Boy child, you started me on a path to where I am today. I am forever your ally, your student, your biggest fan. The journey we've been on over the past eight years has taught me more about life than any book ever could. You taught me to live, to accept, to appreciate, to truly love.

It's funny to say, but I owe my career to you. Your conception gave me a regular writing practice, something I was sorely lacking. That writing practice lead to job opportunities I would not have had were I not your mom. That writing practice gave me numerous friends I would not have met had it not been for the bond that your birth created. By my mere sharing stories of my experiences as your mother, I opened a door to a world I didn't know existed. Well, the truth is that this online world didn't exist before -- we kind of came of age together.

You. When you're older you won't care so much about how you changed my life, but you'll likely want to read about who you were, what you were like as a child. Let me tell you, I know a lot of people, and I have yet to meet anyone as spectacular as you.

You are good, intrinsically good . You share, you give without a thought, because it makes you feel good to do so. You believe that making the right choices and staying true to yourself will lead you on the right path and rarely do you sway as a result. If the kids in the schoolyard are playing in a way that you don't like, you tell them so and then walk away. Because you won't bend on your morals, this makes it tough for you to truly connect with the other kids. You no longer have a best friend, but that's OK. When the right person comes along, that person who REALLY gets you, you'll be glad you didn't settle for someone who wasn't a true friend to you.

Everyone is your friend. All the kids at school like you. What strikes me as interesting is that I could have typed the last two paragraphs about your father! He's the same way. A lone wolf whom everyone loves. Try not to be elusive or an enigma. Open your heart to new experiences and new people. You don't have to alter your morals to be their friend, but you can still learn things from people who may not completely understand you. In fact, you'll learn more from people who aren't quite the right fit than from people who think and act just like you.

You are brave. When faced with bullies, you channel your inner strength to defend yourself. I am so impressed by how well you know yourself, how little fear you feel. You weren't always so courageous, so this is an area that I've really seen you grow and it makes me so proud. I wish I could be more like you. I'm glad I'm not raising children who are afraid of stuff. See! If I'd chosen to spend my life with someone exactly like myself, we would have perpetuated my fear and anxiety together and you might have grown up just as nervous as me! Seek out those who are different. Try to have compassion for them and put yourself in their shoes. You will find endless gifts in their differences.

You and I have been talking about Wayne Gretzky's quote, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." I know that will be a guiding principle for you. Know that when I do crazy things like get up on stage to sing with a band, it's so you can see that anything is possible, that we can do anything we put our minds to.

You are a fighter. I knew that from when you were still in my womb! But I see you now, refusing to give up. You're teaching yourself to skate and you fall and fall and get up again and persevere. "I'm not going to give up Mom," you tell me. You've been studying the drums for a year and through what skating has taught you about yourself (that you improve the more you try), you've decided you're going to practice harder than ever to make sure you finish Book 1. It's taken me my whole life and I still don't think I've mastered that lesson. If you end up with a disciplined approach to tasks, I will shoot confetti off the house. I hope that I will learn by watching you. (As you might be able to tell, breaking the cycle of things I dislike about myself and my own childhood is something I'm rather obsessed with.)

You're a fighter, but the biggest part of being a fighter is knowing when not to fight. You must remember that war and battles rarely result in any good. Channel your rage and frustration into something good. Turn it into passion. Or muscles. And know when to give up. Sometimes you have to let the current carry you out rather than struggle against it.

I've just peeked in my archives. It looks as though I didn't write you a letter when you turned 6 or 7. Sorry about that. In the past two years you've become obsessed with science. You fell in love with sharks last year when we went to Atlantis resort in the Bahamas. So 2012 was definitely the year of the shark. You like to read non-fiction. You're like me in your appetite for random facts and your incredible retention of them. You got your yellow belt in karate and your pleasure at building Legos has yet to subside. You love the outdoors and camping, you love eating healthy and living right. You're a bit of an insomniac, but hey, so am I! Like your mom, you can read late into the night.

You read at a Grade 7 level (I can hear you turning the pages of The Hobbit right now) and you love math. You've had your share of challenges at school over the past two years, but I know if we work together you'll get through them. You've got Dad and I at your side, willing to do whatever it takes to help you succeed.

You love your sister. You are best friends, even if you fight sometimes. I hope you always have each others' backs the way you do now. She's finally stopped trying to get you to marry her, but I always loved how you were quick to remind her that it would be against the law anyway.

You're funny and thoughtful. The other day, we passed some elderly folk eating brunch in their nursing home. I asked you and your sister to wave and as we walked away you remarked, "I just had a vision. That some day you will be sitting there like those ladies and waving at little kids."

And I thought to myself, "Dude! Don't you dare put me in a nursing home!"

Tonight at dinner you said, "Having kids is nice because I think it must be so great to tell your kids stories about when you grew up." Kiddo, it's far more fun to tell you stories about what it was like when YOU were growing up.

Eight years ago I had no clue how to change the world. Today I know that just by having you and raising you right, I have. Happy birthday my sweet son. I love you more than sunshine.


Abigail said...

You probably feel meh about it because it is so important to you. But I wanted to say that it's beautiful and I had tears in my eyes.

sonia said...

Fantastic post - so filled with love and emotion! Happy birthday to your sweet boy!

karengreeners said...

Sweet sweet :)

DaniGirl said...

This is lovely Nadine and you really made me pause on the idea that everything you have online now you owe to him. So interesting, and so true. So much of what I have today - day job, photography gig, bloggy goodness - all comes from that need to connect with someone else who was also feeling like mothering turned their life upside down. This is the way it's supposed to work, what it's all about. :)