Wednesday, June 15, 2011

6,570 Days

My baby is 18 years old today. My son stands at 6'7, has graduated from high school, has a girl friend and is going to college in the fall. Honestly, I don't know when that all happened. I can remember the rush to the hospital in the middle of the night, his impatience to enter the world so quickly that the doctor never made it to deliver him, us being discharged within 24 hours and going home to my little apartment to begin our life together. What an adventure it's been.

I had my son at a young age and although I raised him rather unconventionally I believe that's why we have such a close relationship. We shared a small apartment in Chicago and I worked at home so we were always together. I didn't have any friends with babies so we made friends in our City neighborhood and he was always surrounded by children of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds. I never fed him baby food such as rice cereal or crap from a jar, even 18 years ago I was making his food myself and feeding him what he calls my "veggie weirdness" (although he eats every bite!) Plastic pacifiers, bottles and fake food never crossed his lips, I tell people now that is why he is 6'7 inches tall and over 200 pounds. When I was scared that he had a fever or unsure of what to do I read my trusted book, What to Expect the First Year and felt like I had a friend with me telling me that I was doing everything ok.

While we lived in Chicago I had him in non traditional schools, a wonderful preschool near Wrigley Field (an excellent school run by the JCC, a Jewish Center even though he was one of the only non Jewish children in his class because I wanted him exposed to all beliefs), then the excellent Chiaravalle Montessori in Evanston near Northwestern University. As an only child he thrived in Montessori, I believe his experiences there created the social person he is today. I don't believe in mainstream kindergarten so he stayed in Montessori until we found an excellent school system and moved to the area where we live now. Through it all, the moves, my marriages, our travels, he has remained in school with the same kids since he was 6 years old and it's been a joy to watch them grow up together.

As I look back on his 18 years it's like watching a movie. I can dial up a memory and it's there in my mind...his first word, his first steps (he never crawled, just went from sitting to standing to walking), his first trip to the emergency room, the notes he wrote to the tooth fairy, cookies for Santa Claus, his first trip to Disney World, science fairs, his obsession with Peter Pan and swords, his first trips to London, Paris, Ireland, playing every sport ever invented (T-ball, baseball, basketball, fencing, swimming, track and field, football, lacrosse, soccer, frisbee, scuba diving, hockey), first days of school, Halloween costumes, bad dreams, childhood illness, it's all there in my memories.

My Kid is an amazing young man and I'm excited for the next chapter of our lives. My boy is 18 and I'm 40. I guess life begins again. I can't even imagine the adventures we will have.

1 comment:

W. Rose said...

You did an excellent job!