My baby was 12 when he went to bed tonight…tomorrow he’ll wake up a teenager. Sitting on my desk is his 7th grade school picture. It’s priceless Zechariah–with a grin that is almost a smirk, like he is about to pop off with a wisecrack that will send me into hysterical laughter. He does that often.
I wanted tonight to be special, not that we would do something eventful…that comes tomorrow for the birthday. But special in the sense that we could spend quiet time, just the two of us. I imagined that we would cook dinner together, work on a little bit of math homework and then hang out like we love to do…reading, writing in his “This is who I am” book, talking & tickling. Sunday through Thursday nights we have our “bonding time” from 8 til 9ish where it’s “just us”..no phones, tv, video, computer…nothing is allowed to disrupt our time together. It’s heartwarming to me that this kid still enjoys spending time with me. Many nights he is the one who comes into my office right at 8:00 and taps his wrist, my sign that he’s come for his undivided attention from mom.
This last night before “teenhood” was anything but quiet but it was so Zechariah. We spent the evening in Urgent Care gettting his knee checked out. Seems he has no idea what happened, pain just “came out of nowhere” after a wild round of B-Ball with some of his friends. I reminded him that we leave for China in less than 2 weeks and we need him to be WELL for this trip… “don’t make me sit you in a corner for the next 12 days.”
I had tucked my journal into my bag thinking I might get in some time to write while waiting to see a doctor…when we found ourselves rather quickly in an exam room I whipped out the journal and started thumbing through to find an empty page. Instead I found an entry I had written about Zech. “Read it to me,” he requested. So I read aloud about the weekend last December when we baked for local nursing homes…80 dozen Christmas cookies “Kamakazie style” replete with battlecrys, missle sound effects & warmongering imagination that turned wooden spoons, a flour sifter & a mixer into weaponry. Finally finished & the peace treaty celebrated with fresh hot cookies & milk we retired to watch a silly movie together. It was as special a time as I could ever recall simply because we were laughing uproariously and enjoying a simple task together before snuggling. At the end of the movie Zech was so wiped out he fell asleep across my lap while I rubbed his head. The conclusion of the journal entry was proclaiming the obvious…how much I love being this boy’s mother. By the time the doc came in several minutes later, Zech & I both had tears in our eyes from the reading. I know from my own experiences that it does not matter how old you get, you never stop tiring of hearing that your mom loves you & is proud of you. That moment was sweet and meangingful to both of us.
As for the knee , it’s swollen & sore but doc says it’s nothing major, a few days of icing it & he should be fine. WHEW!
Leaving the clinic we planned Zech’s birthday breakfast…chocolate chip waffles and canteloup? Dinner was a quick stop by the deli counter at the grocery market and a cookie eaten in my car on the way home. And by the time the groceries were put away it was time to pray & get to bed. Zech looked at me and asked if I wanted to take his picture “one last time before I become a man”???? Why not? A few goofy faces on the cell phone camera and one really cute one. Zech says to me “I have something sweet I want to say to you”. I fell for it thinking he was going to tell me what a great mom I am. He looked at me with a face as serious as a tax audit and uttered one word… “PUDDING.” Don’t ask me why, but I lost it. I laughed so hard I had tears rolling down my cheeks. In truth, I think I was laughing for all the times in the last 13 years this child has brought me joy and I was crying thinking how quickly the years fly by.
I am so grateful for Zech’s life. Being a mom is the best part of my day. Of my life.