Ahh, Quinn, happy birthday number nine. It was so good to come home to you after dropping the last of your siblings off at college. I don’t think I would be quite ready to be an empty nester completely. When I drove Will to Michigan I listened to every episode of Justin Long’s Life is Short podcast. I discovered that Kevin Bacon was also only nine by the time his older siblings had all left home. It must be so strange to live half of your childhood with the flurry of activity that comes from a house full of brothers and sisters and the second half in “only child” mode. Kevin Bacon seems to have turned out okay, so I am not too worried. You did crawl into bed with me last night though. I think the house was just a bit too quiet for us both.
Recently Luke texted me this image of you and me from the beginning, nine years ago this week:
That is hard for me to imagine and I am not quite sure how I managed the grief of it all or how I possibly went back to work ten days after an emergency c-section. Trauma can be funny that way I suppose. We block out the terror in order to function. When I think of that time all I think about is the stillness that resided in me. I went through life’s motions while feeling like I was on pause.
I am so absolutely grateful to you that you chose to stay, that you chose me as your momma. At nine, you still love to draw and to sculpt … you asked for tape for birthday. Honestly, I think you went through twelve rolls of tape last week. You still love cozy blankets, stuffed animals, Toy Story, Scooby Doo, Octonaughts, and YouTube. The Youtube thing drives me crazy. I will never understand what is entertaining about watching grown ass adults play games, but you cannot get enough of it. As far as food goes, you love chocolate, fettuccine, sausage, and black olives. On weekends you never get dressed. You sit, in your underwear, wrapped in one of those cozy blankets, and you make stuff with the tape and watch TV.
You remind me so much of Luke. He, too, loves television and movies. We have Luke home for a bit. You think he is the coolest. He plays loud music for you and you said that the coolest thing about Luke is that “he is Luke.” Dad and I always call the two of you our bookends, and Lizzie and William “the middles.” It is funny how that worked out, how the similarities lined up even though you are fourteen years apart. I am happy to report that Luke now dresses when he wakes up, even on days off, so I know you will get there.
I think about how much has transpired and transformed in these nine years and I am hopeful that our lives continue to be blessed with love and adventure and I look forward to creating the second half of your childhood with you. I hope it just gets richer, more colorful, more tape filled, more delicious for us all. When you were born I didn’t get to hold you. I only caught a glimpse of you as they rolled you away in your incubator. I noticed the dimple on your chin and I knew that angel kiss to be a sign of your resilience, your magic, and your determination to make this life a beautiful one. You certainly have added beauty to mine. Happy birthday, dear boy. You are the light of my world and I love you to pieces.