Monday, August 2, 2010

Happy Birthday to My Youngest

"My Name is Bond, James Bond."
The morning of the birth of my second child, the only thing I felt, as I was wheeled in to the birthing room, was a fear I can only describe as "primal". It had nothing to do with the childbirth process. It was an unreasonable, unsettling dread I couldn't shake: that something, somehow was going to be terribly wrong. My husband felt it as well but we didn't know why. All indications were this would be a healthy baby...and he was. 

Prom Night
Posing With Mom
That was 22 years ago today. My son has grown into a young man of great kindness and consideration with a generous heart. At 6'2" he is a presence. People respond to him positively. He has a winning personality and is eager to please. In some ways he is naive for his age but we raised him in a rural, mountainous region. His exposure to city ways has been limited to a couple of semesters in college and the tourists we get. But that is okay too for he has a charm more winning than his slightly more sophisticated friends.

The apprehension we felt the morning of his birth stayed with us many years. We were fearful, oh so fearful, something would happen to him. We hid that fear but I've always wondered if he picked up on it anyway. He once said, at a fairly young age, "I don't think I'm going to live too long." You can imagine how I responded to that statement! Both boys were hellions during their teenaged years but this one always got caught. Middle of the night phone calls bring a dread every parent knows. I would sit bolt upright with each one or lie in bed awake until he came home. My insomnia was such I finally had to sleep in another bedroom where I couldn't hear the car arrive in the middle of the night.

Turning 21
His twenty first birthday was a turning point for me.  He had gone to college for a few semesters, lived in Utah and was now living in a house he shared with friends.  His behaviour no longer was "in my face" so to speak.  I wasn't confronted with it and, as a consequence, wasn't reacting.  It was what many parents wait for:  a reprieve. Living with us now, he's working two jobs, seven days a week, saving money to move to Tampa. I'm so proud.  I am grateful for his presence and the opportunity to mother him just a little longer. I make his favorite meals when he can have dinner with us and I now hope the day he leaves takes its time because I know how much I will miss him.

Workin' Up A Sweat on the Florida Gulf Coast 2009
I still listen for his car at night. I still react with concern to my phone ringing after 10pm. I no longer have the dread.  It's just a parental hangover.  He's still my baby and I will never, ever stop wondering how he is.

Sunset, Holmes Beach 2009

Happy Birthday Beautiful Boy!


Susan said...

What a wonderful gift to your son...a beautiful tribute to the boy that he was and the man he has become. The only thing I can add is that eventually mothers have to grow up, too. :)

Happy Birthday!

Ruth said...

There is no accounting for those feelings of dread. Yours and your husband's sounds hard to shake. But I wish your handsome son a happy 22nd and another 88 happy ones!

Baino said...

Oh Cali happy birthday to him and so true, they're always our babies. I don't have the car dread any more either but it's such a relief when they get home and I'm still guilty of peering in at 3am just to make sure! We're blessed.

California Girl said...

Susan, Ruth, Helen; you are all good friends and I thank you for the nice comments. We love our children and cherish our time with them. My thoughts are with each of you too. xo

Mama Zen said...

Happy Birthday to your handsome young man!

jeannette said...

You are a lucky mom to have a son you can be proud of! Happy birthday to him:)

Ima Wizer said...

We share the same birthday! Mine was August 2, too!!!

Anonymous said...

So many parents have children who are 100% in the other direction.

We, Patty and I, are forever grateful that our 5 children have been good friends and that they have not been into trouble in any way that we are aware of. As parents, we never forced them into any religion, belief, or mind set. We tried to let them develop themselves without our influence. And we think it has worked out very well.

I really appreciated this post. So many people and parents could not write this kind of post about their children. It is sad.

California Girl said...

Mama & Jeanette: Thank you. He's still celebrating. We had a bbq for him & 12 of his closest friends plus our friends, his brother who is now home and his girlfriend & grandmother.

Ima: Happy Belated Birthday to you! Leos are the friendliest sign.

Abe: That is high praise and I thank you. My sons have turned out better than I ever dreamed. My husband and I are close to them, they enjoy spending time with us, they make time for us, they are polite. It has paid off (and there were times I wondered!)

CaliSunshine said...

After reading the bitchy waiter's blog, I came across one of your posts. I was origionally going to make my screen name California Girl, but now I know who has it instead :P I love your blog, and your son sounds like ahem... quite the hunk ;) you should come check out my blog sometime.


by Cole Scott