He was born three days before his due date after 10 hours of labor. There was some merconium when my water broke so they told me to stop pushing after his head was delivered so they could siphon out his nose and mouth. I remember sitting up, scared because he wasn’t crying, and being pushed back down with, “It’s okay, he can’t cry yet, his chest is compressed.”
Ivylad was in the Navy, so his sister attended me at my “lying-in.” I’m still in the stirrups, pushing out the placenta, when she kisses me on the forehead and rushes off to see her new nephew. He peed on the birth certificate and smudged his footprint.
He was the first grandchild on both sides, so much pictures and spoiling ensued.
When he was almost three, his sister was born. The first thing he said when we came home from the hospital was, “Daddy, turn it off.” (She was fussing a bit.) Words of portent, I tell you…she’s quite the chatterbox.
He slipped in the bathtub and cut his ear on the faucet. He needed some stitches for that one.
I read to him every night before bed. He loves to read and write stories. He won an online contest for writing the last chapter of a story and got some K’nex toys as a prize.
His school career has been…how shall we say…a bit frustrating. He’s a smart kid, but the problem is he knows it. So he has a tendency toward laziness and schoolwork arrogance, and the report card fairy has bitten a chunk out of his butt on more than one occasion, much to his father’s and my anger and dismay. He came in second in the county spelling bee. He barely passed calculus. He got a 4 on his AP Literature test. His teachers want to wring his neck, because they know he’s capable of so much more consistent work.
He’s been to New Orleans (we saw a can-can show and one of the dancers gave him her garter), San Diego, CA, New London, CT, and Charleston, SC (courtesy of the Navy.) We’ve taken him to Georgia in November, where he played in the snow, to Virginia in August, where he saw where the Confederacy surrendered, and Grandma took him to England for a month last summer, where I think he kissed a girl.
He played t-ball, Little League baseball, and took karate lessons. He played golf and ran track in school.
He is one of the kindest boys I know. Shortly after Ivylad’s sister and her husband had their first child, we decided we should move back to Florida so our kids could grow up around their cousins. It was the best decision we ever made. Ivyboy and Ivygirl adore and are adored by their four younger cousins, and my son has learned a patience and a love of play that I think will suit him well when he has children of his own. One of his nieces wrote in her bon voyage card to him, “Don’t go partying without me.” She’s 9.
He’s progressed from picture ABC books to Goosebumps to Harry Potter to Tom Clancy. He’s very good with origami and magic tricks. His idea of a clean room is not my idea of a clean room. His big thing for a time was measuring his height against everyone in the family, but now that he’s got everyone beat that’s gone by the wayside. He spoke for a few minutes at his grandfather’s funeral, and asked that a solution to one of his magic tricks be cremated with Grandpa. He’s not shy about telling us “I love you.” He kisses us good night. He likes his shirts to be ironed and yes, he knows how to iron. And cook. And do laundry.
My father once told me, “First you give your kids roots, then you give them wings.” Tomorrow we pack up the car and drive him over to Melbourne to get him settled in at the Florida Institue of Technology. He will be living on campus. He wants to design computer games and eventually launch his own computer company. We are staying there for a few days and will be bidding him goodbye and good luck on the next chapter in his life on his 18th birthday.
His father and I did the best we could. I keep asking him if he took care of this or that, and he invariably answers me with a long-suffering “Yes, mom.” I’m trying to untie the apron strings, albeit reluctantly, but I think he’s going to tear loose before I’ve got them unknotted. A few weeks ago I was giving him advice on how to handle a situation, and he said, “Yes, mom, I know. You and Dad did a good job.” I think we made some errors along the way, but he’s a healthy child who knows not to do drugs and smoke and drink and has a tremendous love of family. I told him for God’s sake, marry somebody smart.
For those of you with little kidlets, 18 years is not a long time. Trust me.