Today is our firstborn's birthday.  

Every new baby ignites in his parents an enormous passion, and a fierce sense of protection and provision.  It just wells up, usually accompanied by tears. 

The first time that happens, however....your defenses are stripped away, your heart is laid bare, and you realize, maybe for the first time, what unconditional love is.

You realize how vulnerable you now are.  You have just created something you will protect more than yourself.

In the summer of '77, we became parents for the first time.  Our tiny, flesh-of-our-flesh, often smelly newborn was completely ours to snuggle and nurture and feed and clean and teach and love.    

It was overwhelming and frightening and wonderful.

We realized early on, however, that we were completely inadequate parents.  We didn't actually know anything.

We worried that we'd drop this precious bundle, or not hear him if he was suffocating against the mattress.

We worried that, as a toddler, he'd run into the street, or trip over a brick and knock his new teeth out, or find a dead worm and eat it.

The worries only got bigger: the copious germs at school, predators offering our innocent boy a candy bar, crummy friends who would lure him into stupid behavior, and, worst of all...GIRLS.

Despite the worries, our firstborn could not have been more adored.  As the first grandchild on my side of the family, we were "over the moon" with this youngster.

He was born one year after my twenty-three year old brother unexpectedly passed away.  This fresh, new life was a soothing balm to my grieving parents. 

Our firstborn was a smart, serious child who loved Legos, transformers, and McGyver.  (To this day, we all believe duct tape and a pocket knife should fix anything.)

When the soccer coach broke our son's seven-year old tibia with a powerful, but misplaced kick, I tearfully learned that I could not protect my boy from the world.  This is a heart-wrenching moment for a mom.  

That same year, this son won the Fire Prevention Week art contest for the second grade.  I had tears in my eyes again.  This tough little guy who weathered a clunky leg cast and crutches for six weeks was artistic and creative, and pretty nonchalant about it too.   He's still not one to blow his own horn.

But, his mom will.  Here's the second grade winner... 

...and some of his later work, a portrait of all the grandchildren with G.G., their great-grandmother.

Don't miss the tiniest little sprout on G.G's lap.   This picture is so precious, my heart aches. 

As the oldest child, our son was a good little helper, a job most firstborns tire of over time.  God bless 'em.  The burden of being first. 

He once referred to himself as the "experimental child," which is, unfortunately, true.   The first offspring has to weather the learning curve of Mom and Dad.   I can only pray that our insane love for this child counter-balanced our inexperience. 

Our son became self-reliant early on, and moved to Arizona with only what he could fit in his pick-up.  He has an adventurous spirit that enables him to follow his heart.  Once on his own, he never asked us for anything.

He's a whip-smart pharmacy technician, a talented musician, and an avid baseball fan.  He also does a very good Jim Carrey impersonation. 

He's still creative.  A few years ago, he proposed to his girlfriend on opening day at Fenway Park.  Then, he designed their wedding invitation, incorporating a baseball theme. 

I believe any children will have reddish hair. 

Today, we thank God for our firstborn.  The child that made us a family.

Happy, blessed birthday, beloved son.

All our love...

Mom and Dad


Anonymous said...

No mention of the Redskins? I'm shocked! I love Jeremy's cartoon picture. He made one with our family in it. David had a bow and arrow and was aiming at Hannah's rear end. So he captured the essence of the characters.

Marianne (Mare) Baker Ball said...

HA! I think I remember that picture!

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

First borns have a special place in our hearts I refer to mine as my precious first born so when ever someone reads something were I talkin about my precious daughter I am talking about my first born......

Rita said...

This was soooo sweet! I have an only son. Could relate to everything you said. He was quite the talented cartoonist and grew into a handsome man. Happy birthday! :)

ErraticElle said...

Happy belated birthday to your son! This was such a super sweet post. You're a good mama. Elle @ Erratic Project Junkie

Cheryl said...

What a sweet tribute to your son!