Posted by: rocketbride | December 8, 2013

the big one-oh

the tiniest blake

the tiniest blake

Today Blake turned 10 years old.

It’s a special date, not just because of the zero at the end, but because he was born on the 10th birthday of Morgan’s son. I was the second person of my peers to have a baby, and I managed to hit the exact date as if it were planned. I thought about this age gap after Blake was born. He was the first baby I outside my family that I knew well. I remembered visiting them in the hospital, and at her apartment as he grew up. I still have his little picture on my dresser. I often compared how tiny he was in my memory to the grotesque idea of a ten year old running around in his place.

Ten. Ugh. I’ll just keep this one as a baby forever, I think.

first valentine's day

first valentine’s day

What’s interesting about Blake in general is how much he has confounded my expectations, and how much he has taught me about parenting. Blake was sent to drive home the point that my plans were moot, my ideals so much ridiculous ephemera to be cast aside like teenage poetry. Until Maggie was born, I never loved anyone with the ferocity, the tenderness, the exasperation with which I love(d) him. He refused to sleep alone, didn’t sit or crawl or draw on time, but learned prodigiously and showed an early appetite for books that has yet to be satiated. He was spacey, goodnatured and kind for long spells, incredibly petty and rude if irritated. He refused to participate in holidays on any but his own exact terms. He was clumsy and hated to write. He was the apple of his grandpa’s eye. He was the kid to teach me that social acts were learned, not innate; that no amount of knowledge could create an extrovert. Today he ducked away from well-wishers, refusing to acknowledge birthday wishes. Like always, he was not my monkey. He refused to perform.

In other words, he was neither the Boy, nor me. He was himself.

kung fu blake

kung fu blake

And yet, now that he is older, I find more of myself in him. He was as clumsy at athletics as I, but didn’t give up the way I was allowed to, and he blossoms the way I am only beginning to now. He started piano lessons this fall, and he is picking up musical ability at an amazing rate for someone who has always struggled with hand-eye coordination and processing speed. The other day he asked me a question about how long I played piano; this is the kid whose lack of curiosity about his family is slightly deeper than his lack of curiosity about the world around him. He’s starting to read novels all the way through rather than in frenetic bursts, working through stories in order rather than skipping through pages like the super bouncy balls he loves. He makes lists and schedules for decorating the house for Hallowe’en and Christmas. He reads nursery rhymes to his sister.

Do I worry about him? All the time. I worry about things I can control, like leisure time and birthday presents. I worry about things I can’t control, like bad friends and mean teachers. I worry that he will be like his dad, unable to focus on anything long enough to find himself before he turns 30. I worry that he will be like me, unable to meet my own standards.

But mostly I’m just glad that he still hugs me in the morning, and at night when I see him to sleep. He refuses affection from just about everyone, but if we’re going through night-time prayers and I want to pray with my head on his chest he will wrap his skinny arms around me and make sure he kisses me on the lips before he lets me up to turn off the light. He’s not the infant who needed to be in the crook of my arm and he’s not the toddler who scratched bloody grooves in my cheeks with a smile on his face. But those reverberations are embedded somewhere in his personality, and my job is to love whichever one chooses to surface. He’s a complicated kid, but I love him. I can’t imagine a life without him; at least, not one I would like to live.

blake in a rare moment between making horrible faces at the camera. (c) loralayne photography 2013

blake in a rare moment between making horrible faces at the camera. (c) loralayne photography 2013


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