Thursday, August 22, 2013

Love, more

My sons - who were born ten weeks early and spent eight weeks in the NICU - are turning 13 years old today.  Feel free to sob with me.

Dear not-so-little-man,

During a week of no camps or activities I dragged took you and your siblings to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum and Library.  The building alone is stunning.  It is designed by I. M. Pei and juts out onto Boston Harbor.  Inside this beautiful space is history of an era that we are not familiar with but impacts our daily lives.  You were enthralled with the faux White House hallway, the real letters and news footage from the time.  That and television channels were only changed with knobs that you had to get up from the couch to change.

As we finished the special exhibit about the Cuban Missile Crisis you begged me to buy you Profiles in Courage, the book the then Senator Kennedy wrote while he recovered from back surgery caused by injuries from World War II.  Surprisingly you have been reading it, telling me all about Robert Kennedy's forward to the book and interesting facts about the Kennedys.

A few days after our visit to the museum a good family friend who has his own wonderful career in politics offered us two barely used twin-sized mattresses and box springs.  After I happily accepted he threw in two headboards which had been used by a certain newly elected Congressman and his twin brother when they were boys.

So now you've been reading Profiles in Courage propped up against the same headboard of Robert Kennedy's grandson.  And President Kennedy's great-nephew.  Which only feeds into your belief that you are going to make a difference in the world, in a really big way.

And I have no doubt you will.

I love you,


Dear not-so-little-man,

We, as a family, had to give up one of our dogs to animal rescue in June.  You, your brother and your younger sister seemed to handle this development well.  You all appeared to understand that Zeke was becoming increasingly violent and our family could not provide him a safe home.  We had a scheduled time to drop him off while you were at school.

The morning we were to drop off Zeke your brother woke up and was inconsolable.  He sobbed and sobbed, unable to even get to school never mind manage the day.  You were fine and trooped off to school with barely a lowered shoulder.  I promised your brother I would take him out of school to say goodbye to Zeke and be part of leaving him at the shelter.

When I got to school your brother told me you wanted to go as well which mildly ticked me off since I figured you were only asking so you could miss a class or two.  Eventually we got to the shelter, finished the paperwork and said goodbye to Zeke.  Everyone's eyes stayed dry.

Until we got out the door when your brother lost it.  You told him to sit in the front seat of the car and you sat behind him.  Once we climbed in you reached forward, grabbed his shoulders and told him that Zeke was safe now. You reminded him that you both could now have friends at our home (since Zeke was particularly hostile towards/would bite 12-year-old boys).  You rubbed his shoulders and told him it eventually wouldn't hurt so much.  Your brother calmed down - so much so he walked back into school with a smile.

You were not at the shelter to skip a class.  You weren't there to say goodbye to the family dog we had for four years.

You were there to help your twin brother grieve.

I was dry eyed as we left the shelter.  I was practically clicking my heals - a la Gene Kelly in "Singin' in the Rain" - as we walked out the door since Zeke had been a struggle for a while.

But as you comforted your brother I slipped my sunglasses on.  Because that was when I started to cry.

I love you.  More than you will ever really understand.