My oldest son, Alex, turned twenty last week.
Of course the first thing he said when I told him “Happy birthday!” was “God I’m old!”
He’ll always be my little boy. I can look at him today and see the six-month-old sitting on my lap, or the two-year-old in rain boots covered in suds helping Daddy wash the car. Or the four-year-old who told Gramma, in a fit of frustration after trying to explain something to her, “Gramma, there are FIVE points, and you’re not getting any of them!”
Alex. An only child for four years (until Andrew came along). That’s not to imply he was spoiled. He was raised on Winnie the Pooh. How can a kid who watched every Pooh movie and cartoon series be anything but kind, gentle, giving, and just sweet-as-honey? Unless maybe he was taking his cues from the curmudgeonly Rabbit, who in one particular episode, built a fortress around his garden and posted signs warning others to “Keep out.” It was one of Alex’s favorites.
On his twentieth birthday, after he blew out the candles and opened presents (mostly money at this age, of course) I couldn’t help remind him of one of his most memorable birthday moments.
He was five. We had bought him the five-year-old equivalent of a car (honestly, I don’t remember what it was, but it was HUGE). My parents had even come over to help us wake him up and see the look a surprise and the grateful squeals of delight this particular gift would elicit from our sweet Alex.
Four of us tip-toed down the hall to his room and eased the door open so we didn’t wake him up before we could surprise him with his fabulous gift.
“Alex,” we sang in unison.
Before we could get the “happy birthday” out, Alex shot straight up in bed, glared at us and said, “The sign says KEEP OUT!” He then plopped back down on his mattress.
Yeah, maybe it was Rabbit all along!