Well, yesterday our boy became a man. His 18th birthday and an adult by society standards.
Although he has acted and been pretty responsible during the last few years, I can remember when I came into his life. He wasn’t quite a year old yet, and he was chubby cheeked and had more hair than I.
Happy is the word I would use; he was a happy baby, even though he was sick a lot. Severe asthma when your a lil’ guy and trying to see the world isn’t fun. I think the first time I knew I loved this kid was on one of those sick nights.
He woke up in the middle of the night and was wheezing heavily. I sat up with him, rocking him in the rocker, giving him his breathing treatment. I was bare chested and he only in a diaper as he cuddled on my chest as I held him. He soon was asleep and the treatment was over, but I continued to rock and hold him. As I gazed down at him, he was dreaming of camo and big bucks I’m sure, I fell in love with this cute little cuddler.
A few years down the road and he was in glasses. Anyone that has seen those pictures gets swept away by the charming smile and big eyes. His personality was forming, and you could tell he truly wanted to make others happy. Then wrestling, lil’ guy wrestling and all-day events. We called him the turtle. He looked good till he got on his back, then he would just look up at us. Sometimes smiling, other times just patiently waiting for it to be over, just like the rest of us. He tried other sports too, but he loved wrestling, and the foundation was laid. The hurricane of childhood and parenthood started.
First bike, first steps, first words, first kiss. First buck, first black eye, first truck, first job. A world of firsts, and before we know it his senior year is upon us and we want some of it back. It all happened way too fast and we have much more to tell you, to teach you, to show you. But I don’t think we have enough time in these next few months to get to it all. I mean, there are senior pictures and wrestling season, a state championship, graduation and paperwork and jobs and life. Then he is gone. Off to his life, his adventure.
There is only so much we can do as parents before the time has slipped away and our kids are taking care of us. For our son, this might have started early when I got sick. He stepped up. He manned up. Even though he had his own trials and tribulations going on, he was there for me and his mom and others. He took care of things, even loaned us money when we were getting short. He might have got robbed a little from his childhood but I haven’t heard him complain (much).
He became a friend sometime over the last 18 years; I can’t pinpoint the time or place, but when I get news I tell my wife and then him. Good or bad, I want him to know. I also want him to know that I admire him so much for the way he carried himself and continues to carry himself through his own hardships. He isn’t always happy but he has learned to drive ahead and keep his chin up. He knows God has a plan for him, he just wants the shortcut.
His sense of humor is funny; (sometimes) he impresses me with his no-fear attitude and his willingness to get dirty (especially under a hood of a car or truck). His smile and eyes are what every man wishes they had and every girl wants to dance with. He is not perfect — lots of people will agree to that — but that’s what makes him unique. He has never tried to fit in. He walks by the beat of his own drum. He is at home outside in the hills or forest. Hunting or riding, sleeping or eating, video games or Monopoly, he wants to be the best. And if there ever is a zombie apocalypse, I want to be with him.
You’re a good man, Levi; I love ya. I hope someday to be a just as good man as you. Happy Birthday and thanks for being in my life.