On this day, 4 years ago, in between 4 nor’easters, after 6 years long distance, these 2 joined together and grew our 2 families into a single kickass clan. We could not have chosen a better 2nd son (and partner for our daughter) if we tried. Now here we are, after 2 bizarre years, with the world still spinning out of control, waiting to add 1 more to this family equation.
We love you 2(½) people more than we can ever say. May you have the most beautiful anniversary day, celebrating all that truly matters in this world. And may you always know that we will all be your shelter in the storm. No matter what.
Typing that is a bit jarring. This makes me – as my birthday card from you read – ‘dead in dog years’.
Dan, I bet you thought I forgot the birthday post. Well, I almost forgot to serve your birthday cake tonight, and to give you your card, so it would not have been a stretch. The old rock of Gibraltar is surely showing some cracks.
But never. The only time I write here is birthdays, and 29 is a damn big one.
I looked at you across the table tonight and thought, how lucky am I? To have a son that gets me. That shares not only my birthday week but my sense of humor and desire to hang together. You taught me how to parent as much as I taught you how to grow up. And I can honestly say I learn from you every day.
Watching you mature, grow professionally and be a caring, supportive partner is all a parent can ever ask for. I can honestly say, I don’t worry about you. Ever, really. You have a level head, a strong moral compass, and yes, a Puss Jew Bod, but you have learned to manage that with grace. You have a firm grasp on what truly matters (see what I did there?)
Thank you for always being there for me. For making me think. For appreciating that sometimes I am actually ‘not wrong’. And most of all for loving me with your full heart. You are a man of both strength and sweetness. Don’t ever lose that charm.
Here’s to you, my sweet boy. May this year bring you all you wish for. I look forward to every moment of being your mom.
(Becky makes it into the photo because, frankly, I don’t have any recent pics of you alone! That speaks volumes. I love that, too!)
You are 28, right? There are years that I have gotten this wrong. And in the land of time warps, how do you actually know you are 28? What is time anyway…
Never mind, I did the math.
Here we are again, as the day is about to turn from my birthday to yours I can’t help but think the big stuff. Especially now.
It is impossible to ignore where we are and where we have been this year. But I am going to use our birthdays to reflect on all the good that this crazy rollercoaster has given us.
One of the bright things… You. As a roommate. AGAIN! Only this time it was so much different than it has ever been. This time you were here to hold it together with me. To keep me sane when I started to let it all run away with me. As I circled the drain you put out your steady hand and pulled me right out. With an eye roll and a ‘yes, mother’ you could lighten up even the toughest of moments.
You will forever be my sounding board. You think the way I do but with a mind that is so open to all possibilities that my insight pales next to yours. You slow me down, keep me on course and help me to stay straight and go with my gut, even when my gut seems to be nowhere to be found.
Oh, and you vacuum and do the dishes!
But best of all you do this all with a keen sense of humor and the ability to make light of the heaviest of all situations.
You navigated some incredibly tough waters through this crazy ride of a year and worked hard to land in the most amazing place. Without once feeling sorry for yourself or giving up. It’s how you navigate the hard times that determines who you are. You kicked the ass of 2020.
Ok, so I am your mom and I am supposed to say this stuff. But others do too.
Thank you, Dan, for turning into a man I could not be more proud of if I tried.
It appears I only come back here for my kids’ birthdays, but it is as good a time as any. And this guy is now solidly on the back end of his 20s, so he is in need of some big time reflection from his ‘Ma’.
Still recovering from a blowout weekend celebrating my %* birthday, I have to praise this dude for humbly taking that birthday back seat and letting it be all about me.
But not today. Today is about reflecting on… Dan. Danny. Daniel (NO one calls you that). Danny Handbags. Dannatella. DLev. 11son.
[Insert gratuitous embarrassing mom blather here]
Ok, now that we have that out of the way I will respond to your outpouring in my birthday book that left me both in tears and full to the brim.
You got it.
All of it.
Every last thing I tried to say without words. All the insinuations and roundabout suggestions. All that Mothering with a cap M that I was never positive about.
And then you went and did something extraordinary. You gave them your own spin!
You are your own man but not selfish. You are strong but kind. You work hard… and yes, you certainly play equally as hard. All of it with a love for life and a sense of responsibility that blows my mind. You have learned to suck up the hard stuff and embrace the ridiculous. I am pretty sure I was not this grounded at 27. Maybe I’m still not. (Wait, you are 27, right? Some years I get that wrong).
But most of all, you have learned what truly matters. And how to be all you can be, and be careful. Indelibly. (You see what i did there? Clever, right?)
Bottom line. I now learn from you. From your insights and your escapades. About how to not take myself so seriously. And how to just be. And most of all, I know that no matter what, no matter where, if I need you, you will show up.
I love you Buckaroo. Happy 27. May this year bring you all that you dream (and a healthy dose of realism to balance you out).
25. Twenty-five. A quarter of a century. WTH! Unclear how I am the mother of all those years. Lord knows I certainly don’t behave that way.
Which brings me to my son. Dan. Danny. Daniel. DLev. Buckaroo. Seriously, what 25 year old man tolerates being called Buckaroo? Even embraces it.
I rarely blog anymore. But my kids’ birthdays are sacred. And blogworthy. So here goes.
This guy. He has taught me so much more than I have taught him by now. Me? I keep hitting home the same lessons. What is your end game? Keep your eye on your own ball. Be true to who you are. Be all you can be and be careful. Have integrity every day. Always resolve conflict with the party you are conflicted with. The love of reading. Floss.
Him? He challenges me. He makes me better. He makes me think.
He taught me that you have to love people the way they need to be loved, not the way you want to love them. He DOES NOT like to be told what to do. In fact if I do, it is a guarantee he will do the opposite. He has taught me how to trust those you love to do the right thing. To believe that when you raised a child to be independent, that independence may come back to bite you in the ass (ok, not such a parental phrase, but go with it), but you are guaranteed to have a child that knows who they are. Always. Without a second thought.
But most of all, he has taught me about overcoming adversity. And shown me how incredibly strong a human can be when faced with a life(style) altering issue.
Here’s to you, DLev. I stand in awe of your strength. And your ability to find joy everywhere. All the time.
This guy! I adore pretty much everything about him (ok, except for mornings).
That sweet face on the right stares out at me from those big brown eyes, with a little hint of a smile that always said, hey, I really know who I am. I’ve got this. And there he is again on the left – over two decades later – same sort of expression, telling me that he will always be cool with it. Whatever ‘it’ is.
DLev. Baco boy. Oneida for life. Badger. The king of sucking it up and moving on. Always gives 100% and never complains. Sometimes to a fault.
I will refrain from the ‘my-little-boy-is-gone-my-son-is-perfect’ drivel and just simply say that if on this day in 1992 I could have written my hopes for who you would become, you have exceeded my expectations. You make me laugh, call me out, challenge me, make me think and most of all let me lean when I have to. (ok, a little bit of my-son-is-perfect, but it’s your birthday)
Raising you has been a joy, buckaroo. (oh, except for that incident with the inside of my windshield, but hey, this is not about embarrassing you ; ).
Nope, no one in my house is graduating. But for some reason I found myself going back and reading all of the graduation posts that I had written for my kids. I guess it is that time of year. It all seems so long ago, and like yesterday at the same time.
I will tell you that here on the other side, we are all doing great and happy to have made it.
Here is a little roundup for those who are going through the graduation dance. Don’t worry, I promise, you will all be just fine.
I do so love my group texts with my kids. I meet their expectations by always having typos.
Tonight I was feeling a little sad that I had spaced out on the whole Hanukkah thing with the family. For some reason I did not juggle a celebration into the schedule for all of us. This is utterly ridiculous since it is the first time in 7 years that all 4 of us live in the same place. Just another example of my Rock of Gibraltar-ness cracking. Let’s face it, this has been going on since 2008, I don’t think I can stake any claim to supermom status anymore.
For a mom with high digital engagement, it always amazes me how much I suck at texting and IMing. Actually, I probably just suck at typing and it translates to those mediums.
Danny, my adult son, has moved home after college and commutes to the city. His schedule changes as he spends nights in the city often. Wanting to plan for dinner, I usually text him during the day to get his status for that night.
The beauty of my relationship with my kids? They have inherited the appreciation for the absurd. Second gen MFTA*, if you will.
Time flies. Where did the years go? How could he be so old? All those cliché lines of motherhood… why do I roll my eyes at these sometimes and at others they bring me to my knees?
Today I am teetering. Yes, I am more emotional than usual these days. And yes, having him home during the hardest 3 months of my life has been both a comfort and a joy. But the straw that broke this mamas floodgate today was this yearbook ad I did for my son when he graduated HS (yeh, it is both a blessing and a curse to have a mom who is a graphic designer). I came across it today on my Pinterest motherhood board (don’t make fun, I work in the mom blogger market).
That ever-changing face. The same one that now sports a scruffy beard and fronts such a level head for an almost 21-year-old. This boy has turned into a man that I am so proud to say I raised. Part luck, part skill, parenting him has been such an amazing ride.
I am watching him this week between an internship and the journey back for his senior year in college. Gone are my days of checklists and phone calls, Bed Bath and Fed Ex, doctors appointments and errands. He has his list and he is checking things off as they are complete. He may not handle it the way I would (seriously, Dan, are you really moving into an apartment you have NEVER seen?), but he handles it all.
Also gone are the butterflies I used to get when my children would leave. Volumes are written this time of year about the leaving of the nest – but not many write about being comfortable with the dance. If we do our job correctly, they are good to go. And we should be ok with that, even if we get a little weepy during the transitions.
While perusing the motherhood board (for work, I swear!), I came across this quote that says it all for me:
It is easier to build a boy than it is to mend a man.