Today is my kiddo’s birthday. I’ll call him later and — if he answers the phone — sing Happy Birthday to him. Since I usually do this, odds are good he won’t answer. 🙂
He’s an only child and was too smart for his own good from the start. When we were stationed in San Diego, one day he and I were waiting for his father to get off work and passing the time in the office DH shared with a Navy psychologist. After talking to the 3-year-old kiddo a few minutes, the doc looked at me and said, “Boy, are you going to have trouble when he starts school. He’s too smart and is going to be too bored.”
Boy, was he right. Besides being smart and easily bored, the kiddo was also impulsive, had a temper and loved to talk. He got kicked out of his first kindergarten class for telling the teacher she was a sh*thead. That’s when I had to explain that truth is not always a defense; some things you just have to keep to yourself, no matter how true.
For show-and-tell in 1st grade, he took his dad’s handcuffs to school and cuffed a kid to the desk.
For show-and-tell in 2nd grade, he explained the various procedures for sex-change operations. (I was watching a documentary on PBS, and honest to God, I had no idea he was even listening, much less understanding.)
After a few weeks of school, his 2nd grade teacher asked me to send some busy work to school with him. At 9 a.m. every day, she gave the class papers to work on throughout the day, and he finished his before 9:30 and spent the rest of the time disrupting the class.
He was on a first-name basis with the principal of every school (four) he attended from kindergarten through sixth grade. He was also on a first-name basis with the usual suspects at al those schools.
He has a lot of personality, my middle sister used to say.
He played soccer half-heartedly, played the sax for a while, and liked riding his bike. Still does — both his foot-powered bicycle and his two Italian racing bikes. When he told me he was buying the first Ducati, I said, “Oh, honey, I wish you wouldn’t do that. Motorcycles can be so dangerous.” Silence hummed across the lines from northern Italy to Oklahoma, then he patiently said, “Mom, I blow up things and jump out of planes for a living. I think I can handle a motorcycle.”
The first time he got his heart broken, he was a long way from home in South Korea, and he didn’t believe me when I said things would get better.
The next time he got his heart broken, he was a hell of a long way from home in Iraq, and he sort of believed me when I said things would get better.
He served with the 173d Airborne Brigade, the only troops who parachuted into Iraq. A year there, and another year in Afghanistan — no matter how prepared you think you are to have your child go into combat, trust me, you’re not.
He fell in love again, got married, had a child of his own and fell in love all over again. It’s sweet to watch this man, who carries a weapon like I carry my cell, who blows things up and jumps out of airplanes and rides motorcycles at 140 mph, go all soft over his 16-month-old son. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do for his own kiddo.
Just like there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for mine.
He’s surprised me, scared me, frustrated me, made me laugh, made me angry, made me cry, and he’s made me very proud.
Happy birthday, bebe. I love you.