For the first time in two decades, you won’t be with your son today on his birthday. He is the caboose–the baby. You wrapped and shipped some presents off to his dorm earlier in the week, and mailed some cards. But it’s just not the same.
Yesterday, you and your husband worked in the garden. While you were scraping through the red clay, your husband unearthed a tiny neon yellow object.
“Don’t you go and make me cry now,” you warned him.
He grinned and wiped off the dirt. Lo and behold, it was a tiny Tonka steam-roller truck, which had been seemingly glued inside your son’s small fist, back in 1994. How the toy managed to survive two decades of tilling and digging in this small plot, you can’t imagine. Your husband washed it off with the hose, and set it in front of the yellow tomato plant he’d just staked.
“Our garden mascot,” you proclaimed.
After lunch, you both crunched up to the attic–ye gods–the final, yet often forgotten, frontier. Lord only knows what got into you, (perhaps a wee bit too much caffeine), but you actually performed some spring cleaning, albeit lite. You had a veritable fifty-year-old Funfest. Is this what people do when they are retired? Weed through garden and attic? But we aren’t retired. And when we are, can’t we just go on a trip?
After winnowing through old carpet leftovers, 2,000 rolls of Christmas wrap and VW-sized dinosaur computers and the like, you found a bag o’ treasure: your son’s baby clothes, which in haste had been stuck up there in 1994, when you moved to the house.
Land. o. goshen. Later you trundled the bundle downstairs in order to view it fully. You held up each tiny piece for your husband to view. You displayed an absolutely minute onesie–are they still called that in Mom and Dad-speak?
“Who would have ever dreamed that he’d end up being six-foot-one,” you announced, holding the proffered item.
And then you happened upon his first pair of ‘shoes.‘ This was touching because ‘shoe’ was his first word. He has always liked shoes–from light-up tennis shoes, to later, football and soccer cleats and running shoes. Next, (after Dada and Mama), was the word, Coke–clear as a bell. Perhaps because he wanted some and you wouldn’t give him any. Every now and then you’d catch Mama slippin’ him some when we went to visit.
Both these early passions still hold true today. He is a wonderful man, and still has clear, well-defined tastes. This year, you shipped him a pair o’ Nikes, a Tiger Woods Master’s Xbox game, an REI jacket and a pizza gift certificate–which will go quite well with Coke.
Shoes and cokes– here’s to you, son. You are such a grand gift to us, indeed. Happy Birthday.