Every year on my kids’ birthdays, I like to do a whole post just honoring them, and the awesomely weird and quirky and beautiful and wonderfully unique beings that they are. Last year, I made videos. In past years, I’ve written letters.
I’ve done lists like this before – one point for each year they’ve been earth-side – but I liked it so much I’m bringing it back.
Today our oldest, the one who made us parents, the one who overnight transformed our relationship from a couple to a family, turns nineteen. NINETEEN! While my mind reels at the fact that that can even by possible, my heart rejoices. My heart remembers… every story, every wound. Every joy, every heartache. All nineteen years – from hairy 5 1/2 pound newborn to (still hairy) young man – have woven together, their tapestry making up the very foundation of who I am as a mom, and by extension as a woman.
Like most moms, on most days of the year, the list of things I individually love about my kids is infinite. Today, on Spencer’s birthday, here are just nineteen:
1. He’s kind. How could I not start the list here? He has a huge, huge heart.
2. He’s loyal. I aspire to be the kind of friend that Spencer is to everyone he meets. Once you’re friends with Spencer, you not only have a friend who’d give you the shirt off his back… you have a friend for life.
3. He’s enthusiastic about learning. It doesn’t matter if the subject at hand is politics or playing the drums or the engines he loves to diagnose and fix… he loves learning, and he does it eagerly.
4. He’s enthusiastic about LIFE. An often uttered Spencer phrase is, “I’m so excited.” It could be about any number of things, but it’s always genuine. He’s a lover of life, and doesn’t shy away from showing it.
5. He feels things deeply. We joke in this house that Mike has no feelings, and I have ALL the feelings. The four kids all fall somewhere in between, with Spencer landing solidly in my camp. Whether happy or sad, worried or excited, he wears his heart on sleeve, and I love that about him.
6. He’s goofy. He’s got the same corny, cheesy, goof-ball sense of humor he’s had since he was a kid.
7. He’s not afraid to love. And I don’t just mean when he’s in a relationship kind of way. I mean just overall, as a general rule, he puts his whole heart out there. As someone who spent a good portion of her life putting up walls so I wouldn’t get hurt, I find his willingness awesome and admirable.
8. He’s a good sport. Living in our household means putting up with a whole lot of joking, craziness, and a mom who bursts into song multiple times a day. He handles it all with aplomb. It’s fair to say we sometimes drive each other crazy, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
9. He works hard. Whether it’s his online courses, yard work, or helping us run the conference, he works hard, and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.
10. He knows what he likes. Not one to be influenced by fads or brands or what the masses say is “cool”, he has his own unique tastes and wonderfully quirky preferences, from the music he listens to, to the clothes he wears, to the things he watches on TV. He couldn’t care less what anyone else thought about it.
11. He’s interesting. Here’s the thing about living with Spencer: When he walks into the room, you don’t know what you’re going to get. A fascinating tidbit he just read online? An excited monologue about a new game that’s coming out? A passionate rant about people who use “u r” instead of “You are”? It’s always new, it’s often crazy, and it’s one of the most endearing things about him. He’s like a walking party.
12. He’s strong. He’s had oral surgery, eye surgery, shoulder surgery (along with many many many dislocations) and he handles it all like a rock star, and he keeps on going.
13. He has a big personality. Small in stature, and a hundred pounds soaking wet, his personality is just the opposite… unabashedly big and bold. When Spencer’s nearby, you know Spencer’s nearby. He talks loudly, laughs freely, and generally buzzes with energy.
14. He’s random. He takes a lot of good-natured ribbing for this, but I don’t know anyone who can take a dinner conversation from music to snow mobiles to the UK (to everything in between) with as much skill as Spencer. No need for segues. If it crosses his mind, it comes out of his mouth. 🙂
15. He’s smart. Ah, the humbling mom moment when you first realize your kids are smarter than you. I think it’s so cool to see my kids surpass my knowledge in all sorts of different areas… for Spencer it’s everything from computers to problem solving to how things work. And his MEMORY! I’ve been in awe of his memory since he was very little.
16. He’s all in. Just in case you haven’t gotten it by now, he is someone who is living life at 100%. All the time.
17. He appreciates good food. It is fun to have a kid to drink coffee with in the morning! Beyond that, he has always, even from the time he was very little, has loved trying new and exotic foods, with a strong preference for seafood. If there’s shrimp or crab legs or lobster anything on the menu… that’s where’s his eyes are going.
18. He’s full of happy energy. I’ve gotten so used to it that I tend not to notice it anymore until someone points out, but he is almost always in motion. Even when he’s standing still, he’s not still. His legs are wiggling, he’s bouncing in place, his hands are going as he talks. Almost like nervous energy, but it’s not. It’s HAPPY energy. It just buzzes off him, and I wish it could be bottled and shared.
19. He’s HIMSELF. Is there anything better than this? He’s awesome because he’s Spencer.
And I love him. So, so much. I’m so very thankful that I get to be his mom.