Alex is handsome. Blond. Blue eyed. Big teeth growing in at odd angles. (When I say big teeth, I mean BIG. He has his father's teeth.) He is responsible. Reliable. Kind and generous. He is an old soul. He was born a little old man and seems to get younger with each passing year instead of older. Never one to tantrum he occasionally melts down. Now. As a preteen. Never as a toddler.
We hear stories from teachers and his friend's parents. Stories of working with the children who need extra help. Stories of befriending the child at the party. The one no one else knows. The friend from the birthday boy's preschool who is a little strange. There are also the stories of skill and enthusiasm. The stories of trying hard and determination. The stories of maturity and calm. I always ask if they are talking about my child. But I know they are. I can see the light in him. Even when he doesn't show those same qualities with his brothers I still see them peek through.
He is the child who rises at 6 a.m. for school. He gets dressed, brushes his teeth and makes his breakfast before insisting I get up and spend the last 15 minutes before the bus comes with him. I must sign his binder, make his lunch and remind him to get his snack and flute. I feel confident if I failed to rise he would be able to fulfill these obligations on his own. If he had to. I hope he never does.
The last few days I have been remembering him as a baby. I have the clearest memories of his baby days. The hours of staring at him. Talking to him. Reading to him. (He would sit and listen to stories from day one.) His little mohawk with it's blond tips (really, he was born that way).
I have one photo that flashes to my mind repeatedly. It is Alex lying on his daddy's bare chest. Covered to their chins in bed. Sleeping. Sweet. Innocent. Still had the dark hair he was born with on the back of his head.
I remember him at a year, making his way around the room emptying every shelf, box, table of items while I laid, sick, on the couch in the early stages of my pregnancy with Tyler. He would make his way around the room. When he was done I would drag myself off the couch and clean it all up. Only to have him do it again. Boxes of toys - dumped. Shelves of videos - swept clean. Bookcase - emptied.
I remember him at 18 months, knowing all his colors - even orange, brown and purple. Speaking in complete sentences.
I remember him at two, eating applesauce with a spoon and not getting a drop on his bib. Everyone where I worked thought this a miracle. I couldn't understand why - until I had more children. He also was talking in paragraphs.
I remember him at three, practicing writing his name. Sharing with his brother and having the biggest blue eyes anyone had ever seen.
I'll admit to the memories getting hazy after this. (and the photos aren't in an album yet.) By the time he was five-and-a-half we'd had two more sons - for a total of four. But I will never forget his kindness and caring.
Alex's 1st birthday
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY SON!