the one he chooses

Just in case there is someone out there who hasn’t followed this circus life in the last year,

MY YOUNGEST CHILD IS GRADUATING FROM 8TH GRADE IN MAY!!!

Earlier this week, we attended a Welcome to High School meeting at the high school he will be registering for later this month and, again, I was overwhelmed with way too many emotions.
..my son…my miraculous son…my LAST child…HIGH SCHOOL…HOW IS THIS EVEN HAPPENING??!!
And then I was reminded that 8th grade pictures were due for the yearbook…the BABY pictures of the graduating 8th graders. Again came all the feels…just re-read the above.

Experience with the four siblings before him has taught me the importance of choosing the right baby picture because EVERYONE will be seeing that picture. Nakey baby, baby covered in food, dirt or gawd knows what, potty training baby or baby wearing anything that is not a legitimate hat upon their head kind of pictures are NOT ever the pictures that should be submitted for the baby pictures page…NO MATTER HOW CUTE! When in doubt it is best to consult the teenaged human child…always…trust me. But while it is important to consult the young graduate, it needs to be properly timed because adolescent angst and moodiness is everything and absolutely not the time to ask for their opinion.

I forgot and asked him anyway.

He shrugged and walked away.

While waiting for the right moment, I crowdsourced the question on social media. Everyone is OVER talking about politics and a thin-skinned president so why not?

For yearbook they want 8th graders’ baby pictures. Do I share the pic when he weighed 1 pound with all the tubes sustaining life or find a chubby baby pic when he was much older?

The response? 35% voted for the micro preemie, 28% voted for the “normal looking” chubby baby and 37% voted for him to choose. The biggest surprise for me was who voted for the chubby baby picture.

He was an adorable chubby baby…once he grew into a chubby baby with the help of a feeding tube in his belly and continuous, high caloric tube feedings. I imagine the chubby baby voters wouldn’t want to see the gastrostomy tube coming out of his stomach or the kangaroo feeding pump that was his shadow during those early years.

He was a beautiful micro preemie too. I wasn’t the only one who thought so during his 132 days in the NICU.

Looking through all the pictures of Daniel, as a micro preemie, as a growing baby and toddler, it is very hard for me to decide. I can’t decide. I ask him again, and, the sun and the moon and the stars were perfectly aligned so that he was willing to offer his opinion.

When I was tiny.

When you are tiny with all the tubes and wires attached to your body.

Yes. I’m a miracle. I want the tiny baby picture.

So he chooses and so it shall be.

 

the moment where we ask how did this happen

I’m really glad to be fifteen, Mom. And you know what the best part is? I’ll get to get my driver’s permit and practice driving. 

Why does my favorite son now imagine that this is the time to take a page from a sister’s, or another sister’s adolescent life story to give me heart failure?

True, today my son is fifteen; which makes us all old here. Remember when I first began this adventure and he was that adorable sweet-faced three year old?

Me too.

Well, he still has a very sweet face.

A sweet face with the shadow of a mustache and peach fuzz and baritone voice that reminds me that he thinks the best thing about turning fifteen is he will soon be able to get his learner’s permit…in six months and one day and AFTER he completes driver’s education which will be offered in his freshman year next school year.

SIGH!

I look at this young man I call son and am reminded that the fact he is alive is a miracle. Will I ever not pause to honor the memory of that early morning, the day that he was born? How tiny and fragile he was and, at the same time, how strong he was?

Likely never. Sorry, son.

But today I celebrate that day and the young man standing before me. Happy birthday my favorite son!

 

seeing red

When I see him like this, I see the same strong will that was with him when he was just a one pound micro preemie fighting to live.

I see focus.

I see strength.

I see a determined thoughtfulness that astonishes me as I see this amazing boy child of mine becoming a young man.

A young man who has just earned a red belt.

And a brand new dobok…not a moment too soon because he was outgrowing the old one.

honor rolls, awards, celebrations and other end of year shenanigans

Because moving and unpacking and all the fun and games and all the snafus that go with that can’t possibly be enough going on here under the new Big Top we have…

Relax, it’s not like we have a graduation to celebrate going on. Still there is a lot going on that is the very last week of 7th grade and it seems none of it really involves much formal learning. It’s okay. It’s the last week of school y’all and for that students, parents and educators are celebrating.

So here we are, Jodie and I, taking a break from unpacking and online summer classes and nightshift nurse life work prep, lined up with all the rest of family and friends waiting to attend the 7th and 8th grade end of year honor roll and awards assembly at Daniel’s school. I make good use of my wait time scrolling through my Instagram feed. In the background I am aware of the first world problems that is one 8th grade mom VERY upset because her precious snowflake is missing Perfect Attendance award pins from 4th, 5th and 6th grades and she knows that they have not been lost or misplaced, her son never received them and he is going to need them by TOMORROW because it is 8th grade graduation and these pins must be firmly affixed to his graduation gown as he walks across the stage. By now everyone in the school office is aware of this problem and just how serious it is as the office secretary tries to explain there is little she can do to fix this even if the mom has all of her child’s 4th, 5th and 6th grade report cards to prove he had perfect attendance.

The waiting is that tedious that most of us are caught up in the drama-trauma happening…will this mother’s precious snowflake receive his perfect attendance pins that will carry him on to the promise of many future successes in high school, college and beyond; or will there be heartbreak followed by a downward spiral into abject failure if those three pins aren’t affixed to his 8th grade graduation gown because this is the ONLY time that he will ever graduate from 8th grade.

Jodie might have audibly sighed and rolled her eyes.

I definitely snickered.

I blame my dear friend Kerri because this popped up in my Instagram feed.

For every kid who is not gonna get an end of year certificate for “Best” anything… For every parent who is getting to the end of the school year with barely one tiny thread of sanity left… For every teacher who got hit with extra credit requests from students who did no work and yelled at by Tiger Mamas… For every admin trying to get grades posted, custodian trying to get the building clean and PTA President trying to get the final budget done…
Good Job! *High Five* from this little squirrel. I don’t know why, but that’s just funny.

It’s totally Kerri’s fault. But yes, high five and hats off especially to the wonderful, hardworking teachers, administrators and support staff at my son’s school who must survive all the shenanigans that the final days of school bring especially from the parents of all of the precious snowflakes. I just can’t imagine but then again here I am waiting to attend the end of year awards’ assembly where my own favorite son will be recognized for all of his hard work this year, his 7th grade year.

Honor roll, it’s always a big deal; but even more so when you literally begin life weighing but one pound with less than 10% chance of survival it is a HUGE, big, fat, hairy deal of which your family makes no apology for celebrating every time. So proud of this favorite son of mine.

Apologies to first world problems 8th grade mom for perhaps judging you a little bit more than you deserved. Even more apologies in advance to all at son’s school for next year’s 8th grade graduation because another milestone seemingly impossible and unattainable those first weeks of life soon realized.

Yeah, I’m likely to be insufferable next year.

Forgive me.

Instead join me and celebrate this amazing, mighty human I call son.