My son turns 13 on Monday. In and of itself, this is unreal to me. First of all, I still think I’m 28, so I am not old enough to have a 13 year old. Secondly, my pregnancy (and the pregnancies that came before him) and the first year of his life were scary. The fact that he had a first birthday was a miracle, so a 13th birthday is…well, a miracle.
My husband is a great dad. He doesn’t always know it though. He has no memory of actually living in the same house with his own father. That is his story, but I say that to illustrate a point and that is that he didn’t always have a role model to learn from. And, as all parents know, kids don’t come with instructions. We quickly learned to hate parenting books (oh, now there’s an idea for a blog post) and we’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way. Fortunately, I don’t think they have caused any real permanent damage.
Anyway, despite any insecurities my husband has about fatherhood, I am here to tell you that he is amazing. And, here’s how I know: we have a great kid.
Last night, we had Back to School night at Jake’s middle school. One of the teachers asked us to write down one thing about our child that makes us smile. Lloyd wrote about the joy that Jake displays on a regular basis. He’s a joyful kid with a great attitude. He loves life. And, it’s true — he does. People comment all the time about his infectious smile. Then this morning, somebody in my Facebook feed posted this quote:
Children learn to smile from their parents.
Now, I know that I can’t take credit for most of the awesome personality traits that my son has. But, as I thought about that quote…I thought, “YES! We can take some credit for that one!”. We have always tried to maintain a happy household (even when there wasn’t a lot to smile about). And, it shows in our son’s face. If you had asked me before he was born what one trait I would want my child to have, I would have said that I wanted him to be happy.
Back to my husband and what a great dad he is. He’s always made sure to carve out special one-on-one time to spend with Jake. When we lived in Olympia, they would spend Saturday mornings going to Twister Donuts and then to the library. Here in Maryland, they don’t have a regular routine, but they still regularly spend time together. Jake will even speak up when he’s craving some Dad/Son time. It can be anything from going to a Nationals game together to just hanging out at Game Stop. Despite all that, he’s been wanting to take Jake on a road trip….just the guys…for a while.
A few weeks ago, I realized that Jake’s birthday falls on Rosh Hashanah, which in Montgomery County is a school holiday. Then, I heard Lloyd and Jake talking about wanting to go to the Baseball Hall of Fame someday…maybe when Ken Griffey Jr. is eligible for induction. So I told Lloyd that he should take Jake there for his birthday weekend. Just the two of them.
This afternoon, Lloyd picked Jake up early from school and told him they were headed to Cooperstown. Jake was crying tears of happiness when he called me. I’m not even going and I’m so excited for them that it gives me butterflies in my stomach. Yes, I wish I was going, but I’m glad they are going together. And, they’ll take lots of pictures and tell me all about it, but it will be something that only they share. It’s something neither one of them will ever forget. And, it is the perfect prologue to this new chapter in the Story of Us.
I am so proud of the kid that Jake is and the man that he is becoming. And, I’m eternally grateful for Lloyd who is his greatest role model. If Jake is half the man that his father is, he will be amazing.
Round 2 of the birthday celebration will be watching the Dodgers play the Nationals on Tuesday — and yes, I get to go to that! Lloyd’s a lifelong Dodger fan, so it’s a bit of a rivalry in our house, but he also just bought Nationals season tickets, so we forgive him.