|My sweet boy in second grade.|
Today, my #3 son--my "middle child"--turns 26. I'm becoming a broken record these days, but I really do have to ask: how in the world did this happen? I turned my back for two seconds, and he morphed from a spindly-legged little cutie pie with big blue eyes and a killer smile (who couldn't for the life of him pronounce his R's and L's--and as I observed before in this blog, this was a bit inconvenient for him given that his last name is PEARL) into a tall, broad-shouldered man who is both an Army captain in the Reserves and a civilian contractor using his Notre Dame finance degree to do important work that helps to keep our nation safe. He is all grown up, but in some ways, he'll always be that adorable little boy to me. (I mean, he does still have the big blue eyes and the killer smile.)
My #3 son lives all the way down in VA, where he shares a condo with his younger brother (son #4). He also lives with my beloved Allie (okay, I guess technically she's his dog), and with his brother's rambunctious pup, Finny. He has a great life down there, with extended family close by...but I wish he wasn't so far away. It's hard to imagine now, but this is a guy who used to need me to be in sight and within earshot at all times. When he was a little boy, he was quite attached to me. Whenever I ran over to a neighbor's house to drop something off or to chat for a few minutes, if I didn't return promptly, I could count on him to check up on me. If I was a couple of doors down, before long the phone would ring, and I would tell my neighbor, "I think I know who that is." And sure enough, when I put the receiver to my ear and said, "Hello, M---," my boy would say, "When are you coming back?" If I was just at our next door neighbor's house, after a bit there would be a knock at the front door, and who do you think would be standing on the stoop? You guessed it. "Hey, Mom, when are you coming back?" he'd say. I have five sons, and I know they all love me; but he was the one who would notice if I was absent for any amount of time. What a little sweetie he was--and is!
My boy can handle being far away from me these days (although he's great at keeping in touch with his old mom and dad); now I'M the one who has trouble with separation!
This son is truly a delight. He's our "glass is half full" guy. He's almost always happy and almost always up for a new adventure. Wherever he is, that's his favorite place to be. He makes good friends wherever he goes. He is an affectionate and dutiful son and a loyal brother, a guy who loves his family and isn't afraid to show it. Some of his favorite things are Vegas, the Red Sox, Notre Dame and every single one of its sports teams, anything having to do with ancient Rome or Greece, travel, family reunions, chocolate, babies, golf, football, lacrosse, and just plain sports in general. (If he comes to visit you, you better be able to get ESPN on your T.V.!) He is the only one in our family who has ever gone swimming with dolphins, which doesn't surprise me a bit. And if the pictures from that experience are any indication, I think he made friends with them, too.*
You make us so happy, M---, and I don't know what this family would do without you. Here's wishing you a Happy, Happy Birthday. Dad and I love you more than you could ever know.
*You can check out my Oct. 12, 2011 post called "Love Was in the Air" if you'd like to see the pictures--they're really cute.