(photo credit Jo-Nell Sieren, Chicago)
Oh Willy Boy,
Happy Birthday to you. It is SO nice to have a summer birthday, isn’t it? You, who waited patiently through a long labor, just waiting to be a Leo instead of a Cancer and you made it by three minutes. In fact, you arrived with the moon in Leo too, which, if you believe in astrology, means you are one fierce, fire boy.
You know who else has both a moon and a sun in a fire sign? Dad. No kidding. You two are so much alike, both so determined and sensitive, creative, and strong. You two are like chocolate covered caramels, smooth and collected on the outside, and rich on the inside . . . taking a long time to “chew,” to know, to anticipate, to love.
Long before Quinn was born, for nine whole years, I called you Caboose. When we found out Quinn was arriving, I promised that I would still call you that and I told you that you would always, always be my caboose. Funny though, it no longer suits you. You have taken such a leadership role as a big brother that you seem more like a steam engine, directing the way with powerful force. Quinn adores you. Yesterday he picked out a baseball bat at Target and all the way home he said, “I am going to show this to Willy. I am going to show this to my big brother.” To him, you are the moon.
To me, well, to me you are everything. I am so proud of you and so delighted to be your mom. Yesterday I watched you play in the pool with five of your closet buddies. I watched them watch you . . . how they all laughed at your jokes and crowded around you as you opened your presents. We had banana cake and ate tacos and as I watched you throw water balloons and swim in the rain (it ALWAYS rains during this week in July) I wondered if you would remember this birthday, remember turning twelve, or if it would ultimately become fuzzy to recall.
A lot has happened since I last wrote a birthday letter to you. You have become quite a photographer, which in a funny roundabout way lead to your modeling contract. You went for your first official shoot during your last week of being eleven, a perfect way to end the year. We have much to look forward to. Tomorrow, we head to Chicago for yet another round of head shots. I never would have imagined that the boy who was so shy as a young child, would be the center of attention at a photo shoot. Geez, when you were little, we couldn’t even sing happy birthday to you because you would cover your eyes in embarrassment and cry!
You are no longer afraid to let the world watch you, to witness your adventure. You, my caboose, are making your mark, full of light and wisdom and humor. I cannot imagine a life without the fullness you bring to mine. You are a wonder and even though we always call Quinn our miracle baby, know that you are equally miraculous and the qualities you hold true to yourself are examples for the rest of us to live by. I love you is too small a phrase.