A Touch of Melancholy: My Baby Turns 10

Never before have I started crying in the baking aisle of Market Basket, I think, filling my arms with different colored writing icings and birthday candles and regular icing (because people, let’s face it, Ms. DIY is not going to have time to whip up several colors of icing in the morning to decorate the giant birthday cookie, and no one will care if the few dollops of fancy decoration don’t taste homemade, right?). Tomorrow my firstborn turns 10, and for the very first birthday of his ever, I will not be with him to start his day.

Yeah, thankfully I will get to pick him up from school and have dinner with him and go to his orchestra concert, so there’s that.

But we’re both morning people, and tomorrow morning, he’ll be without me.

I know his dad will get up and they’ll do something fun, go biking in the woods or go out to breakfast or something. He’ll be very happy. But I won’t see my baby, age 10, first thing.

I was feeling pretty OK about M’s birthday tomorrow. We were all cheerful when I dropped them off at school this morning. I don’t know why I got sad tonight; probably because I won’t see him until tomorrow afternoon, and it seems like such a special day. And yes, to get sappy, ten years ago tonight I was refusing to accept the fact that I was in labor, because although I’d been pregnant for more than nine months and my baby was well overdue and my water had broken hours earlier, I was still not entirely ready to accept the massive life change that was about to happen to me and sort of thought that as long as I didn’t give birth, I could maintain the status quo.

Or something.

My scrawny little overdue scrap of a newborn has become…well, he’s still pretty lean, but tall (thanks, grandfathers on both sides!) and smart and kind and has a pretty spectacular sense of humor and can’t stop reading, and it’s so great to see him run on the soccer field and you should see him ski glades, and I love how he shows affection to me and his brother in a way that doesn’t openly show affection but is pretty damn clear.

He’s low-key. He keeps his feelings close. He feels things deeply. He’s kind, and responsible, and caring, and he’s happy to join me in making up silly songs for and about the kitties.

And so ultimately this is a birthday letter to my beloved firstborn. M., child, I love you more than you could ever know. Happy birthday, kid. Tomorrow’s gonna be great, and your party on Sunday is gonna be great, and you know what? YOU’RE great, and you are much loved.

Keep being you. And let’s keep singing to the kitties. They love it.

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