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132 things i love about you: a birthday letter

132 things i love about you: a birthday letter

March 1, 2007

1) That you were born on February 29th

2) You laugh at my joke every year that you don’t have a birthday this year, so no presents

3) And that you are not even three yet

4) Though this year you pointed out the false reasoning behind that statement

5) “I may have only had two birthdays, but I have still been alive for 11 years.”

6) That you love all things electronic and gadgetery

7) That you read all the manuals of everything that ever comes into our house

8) And then you explain them to me

9) The way you change the ringtone on my cellphone

10) So that I don’t recognize that it is my phone loudly ringing in public

11) and am all huffy and looking around to see who it is that is so rude as to not answer their annoying phone promptly

12) That you put absurd ringtones on my phone like birds chirping

13) or embarassing ones like the song, “I like big butts”

14) And then I pretend it isn’t my phone even if I realize that it is

15) That you read the entire tivo manual and set it all up

16) And then when you were explaining it to me you put your hand on my arm and said, “I know. It’s hard to learn new things at your age.”

17) The way that you sprang back to life so quickly after I killed you

18) That you know where everything in this house is,no matter how obscure

19) And if you don’t you will not be able to rest until you locate it

20) That every day you tell me the exact temperature outside

21) Several times a day

22) That you never get any joke we tell the first time

23) The way you get so angry if we dare to talk in the front seat to each other and you can’t hear

24) Which makes us whisper

25) Just to bug you

26) Your ability to laugh at yourself

27) Your self confidence

28) though it borders at times on delusions of grandeur

29) How you spent hours rigging up a system of strings and pulleys so that you wouldn’t have to get out of bed to turn the light off in your room

30) That it actually worked

31) though anyone over 4ft tall had to walk through your room hunched over

32) You have the biggest heart

33) And your capacity for compassion and forgiveness is immeasurable

34) For that I am thankful

35) I am counting on it

36) The way you sleep in bed with the covers wrapped around your entire body, including your head

37) like a cocoon

38) Though I really wish you would learn to make your bed

39) The way you prefer vegetables and fruit to junk food

40) You will turn down cookies in favor of celery with peanut butter

41) You are clearly your father’s son

42) That you want to bake your own birthday cake this year

43) A carrot cake

44) To the horror of your siblings

45) And you will do it all by yourself

46) And it will taste delicious

47) You love every present that you have ever been given

48) Including the time we gave you a wooden remote control holder as a joke

49) You unwrapped it and proclaimed it to be just what you always wanted

50) So the joke was on us

51) But we gave you your real presents anyway

52) You still have that wooden remote control holder next to your bed

53) It holds your ipod, palm pilot, electronic suduko, and other assorted little things

54) like gum wrappers

55) You have an endless amount of patience for your youngest siblings

56) You let them sit around you when you are working on your computer

57) You find them things to do on your computer

58) That you are a leader, not a follower

59) But you are not bossy

60) You are quick to apologize

61) and mean it

62) You will help around the house with anything you are asked to do

63) And almost never grumble

64) You bedroom looks like a cyclone went through it

65) But you oddly know where all your stuff is located

66) We can spend half a day cleaning up your disorganized and messy room

67) And within half an hour you would never know it had been cleaned up

68) You need very little sleep

69) And stay up reading until the middle of the night

70) I have learned that parenting different kids differently isn’t favoritism

71) it is meeting their individual needs

72) I know what it feels like to have a child drive you bat shit crazy

73) The joy and relief of coming out the other side of that

74) That I am not a perfect parent

75) And that’s okay

76) No one is

77) I have learned the child who is the most challenging is also the one who teaches you the most about yourself

78) I guess I had a LOT to learn

79) That you won’t care if I can’t get to 132 things

80) You won’t think I love you any less

81) You have beautiful big brown eyes

82) And an infectious smile

83) You are incredibly athletically inclined

84) Without even trying

85) Again, your father’s son

86) Maybe I am not really your mother

87) You potty trained yourself

88) Before you were two years old

89) because your brother who is a year older potty trained

90) And your competitive nature took over even at that age

91) You used to think that one day you would be older and bigger

92) I think you still do, secretly

93) You walked at 9 months old

94) Were talking in sentences at 12 months

95) But were completely bald and had no teeth

96) And were on the small side

97) It was pretty freaky

98) Everyday I am thankful that you are my son

99) And I am happy I didn’t toss you out the window during those colicky days

100) That lasted for nine years

101) You have a personality that other people gravitate towards

102) unlike me

103) You don’t take yourself seriously

104) You refuse to eat at fast food restaurants

105) Because you read the book Fast Food Nation

106) You are very particular about your clothes

107) A few years ago you went through a phase where you would only wear blue button down oxford shirts

108) Your wardrobe is slightly more varied now

109) Slightly

110) Your father and I fully intend to live with you when we are old

111) We used to say it was going to be payback

112) But now I think it might be because your heart is so big you would welcome us with open arms

113) Please live somewhere tropical

114) I

115) love

116) you

117) very

118) very

119) very

120) very

121) very

122) this is starting to look like essays you are forced to write

123) very

124) much

125) I am lucky to have you

126) So are all the birds in our neighborhood

127) that you keep well fed with all your bird feeders

128) If not for you I would never have known

129) that my phone has a calculator

130) and plays tetris

131) I probably wouldn’t have cared

132) But still.

Phew.

Happy Birthday Capooh Bear.

11 years ago today: minutes old

Posted by Chris @ 11:16 am  

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Comments

  1. Woman with Kids says:

    That’s wonderful. He sounds amazing for a three year old! ;-)

  2. amy says:

    That was wonderful. Thank you for sharing. May he have many many more wonderful birthday letters (blog letters?) from his creative mom.

  3. Heather B. says:

    That was really, really sweet, Chris.

    Oh and are you willing to loan him out for carrot cake making purposes?

  4. Jennifer says:

    could we please hear some more about #17?

    my professor’s phone went off in class yesterday; it seems his preteen changed the ringtone to “big pimpin’” and then schemed to call exactly when his dad would be lecturing :) it must be something in the blood of young men…

    a beautiful post, thank you

  5. Annika says:

    Happy Birthday!

  6. Andrea says:

    Chris,
    I am not a mother yet, but I read your site everyday and everyday I am inspired by the depth of joy you have in raising children. Beautiful letter/post to your son and the picture is incredible. I look forward to the day when I have my own children and get to experience the blessings of their quirks and personality. Thanks for making parenting sound not so scary.

  7. Tiffany says:

    Chris that was so sweet! I could relate to #18 & 19 my Natalie (10) is the same way, she can find anything and everything in the house. It is crazy, but handy! You have inspired me to write letters to my own children. My Jacob turned 7 on Monday and we thought he was going to come on the 29th! Thanks for sharing the sweet, funny and real thoughts you have for your children!

  8. Sara says:

    As a fellow leap year baby (I’ll be 10 on my next “real” birthday) I have to say “Happy Birthday son #2!” You are living proof that not having a “real” birthday like everyone else in no way diminishes who you are. It just means you get to celebrate longer because people say “well I wasn’t sure what day you celebrated, so…” and then they present you with cards or gifts! In fact, my parents placed their traditional birthday call, complete with birthday song, both yesterday AND today. And who doesn’t like 2 days of being celebrated?!

  9. Michele says:

    Is it wrong that at the end of such a beautiful and heart-warming post, my first thought was, “damn, her husband’s hot”?
    Thanks for the lovely post!

  10. Brigitte says:

    If I can skip those first 9 colicky years, I’ll take him! I enjoy your love letters to all your children so much, I hope they appreciate them as well (when they’re older, of course).

  11. Carola says:

    I’m with Jennifer…what is it about #17?
    Beautiful post…and picture (I loved it)

  12. Karin Morrow says:

    Chris, you are such a good mother. WOW.

    My dad was also born on February 29th, he has passed away now but I always remember him on the day that most years we had to celebrate his birthday..February 28th. I think he had about 10 birthdays before he passed.

  13. jessica says:

    ok now I soo have to stop reading this at work. I am bawling!!!

    I sooo love the love you can feel and see and this is that kind of love…

    Rock on baby

  14. Nicki says:

    could I borrow him to find the car keys that went missing six months ago?

    Happy Birthday to the not yet 3 year old!!!

  15. Lilly says:

    What a great kid! I think your choice to live with him when you’re old is wise based on what you’ve listed here. …And you’re a fine mom for appreciating him and his goodness and his talents.

  16. Danielle says:

    Happy Birthday almost 3 year old!
    Congratulations on having a son that has a heart big enough to match yours. You’re very lucky.

  17. kate says:

    That was a great birthday post!

    Happy Birthday!

  18. Jennifer says:

    Wow. That was a great post. I feel like I understand both of you and how challenging and rewarding your relationship must be, for both of you. You are a wonderful mother, to all your children.

    I can think of a dozen ways to interpret #17, but I have the feeling that none of them are right.

  19. Kristina says:

    My son’s 11th birthday is March 1 (today) however, my entire pregnancy I feared that he would be born on Feb 29th - he wasn’t due to Mar 13th. So, sure enough the evening of Feb 29th I started having those contractions. He managed to wait until 4:42 to be born though!
    Happy Birthday to your son!

  20. Susan says:

    Chris, that was so beautiful.

    He & my 11yo son would get along famously! They are SO much alike–in ways that most 11yo boys could never relate to. Eerie!

  21. jody2ms says:

    Oh, he sounds fabulous!

    And that picture is to die for! Rob looks like he is in pure love! Bliss.

  22. carrien says:

    Sweet picture. I loved this post.

    He sounds like a great kid, and like you are blessed to have him.

  23. cristen says:

    what an incredibly lovable boy. you sure make him sound it, at least. great post. i hope my son (who’s turning 3 this sunday) has half as many wonderful attributes when he’s 11.

  24. Kai says:

    Such a sweet post! Happy birthday to your son!

  25. elizabeth says:

    That was incredibly beautiful! My 11yo came SO close to being a leap year birthday. His dad (dh) would have loved it, as he would have REALLY only given him presents on the years he *really* had a b-day! ;-)

    Happy Birthday to your dear 11yo son!

  26. Wicked Stepmom says:

    12) That you put absurd ringtones on my phone like birds chirping

    13) or embarassing ones like the song, “I like big butts”

    Umm… for my phone, the big butts song had to be downloaded. As in PURCHASED. Have you checked your bill lately? ;)

  27. peepnroosmom says:

    A Leap baby! How special!

  28. Kate says:

    So sweet sounds like you are raising a fine boy

  29. Carrie says:

    so sweet. i loved it.

  30. jaxter says:

    Happy Birthday - another Pisces, yeah! Wonderful birthday post. And I so loved that your husband’s wonderfully strong hands followed the little hands post - very sweet.

  31. theotherbear says:

    What a gorgeous post. What a wonderful sounding boy!

  32. Married Jen says:

    He sounds like a fabulous little Alex P. Keaton (I loved him so I hope you take that as a compliment)!!!

  33. Sarah says:

    What a great post. I read parts of it to my husband. We had a good laugh together.

    I hope my kids live somewhere tropical, too.

  34. sarah says:

    As always, a great post….but, why 132? Is that number special in some way or just a random number you decided on?

  35. Kellie says:

    Beautiful. The picture at the end made me all teary eyed. Thank you for making me smile, as you always do :)

  36. MotherReader says:

    That was great, both touching and funny, the perfect combo.

    Oh, and I’m pretty sure that I brought home my almost 11 year old daughter in the same baby hat. Baby Gap?

  37. Chris says:

    132 is for every month he has been alive. Like I did the 26 things about Miles when he was 26 months old.

    MotherReader,
    YES, it was a Baby Gap hat. He had the little one piece outfit too.

  38. Michelle says:

    That was lovely! I linked here from the Sonlight Forums and I have to say this post made me tear up. My son is 6 and his personality is still forming. I look forward to the man he is going to become.

  39. Mary W says:

    He sounds a lot like my 11 year old.

  40. Tal says:

    Again, as always, a fabulous post. Beautiful to read how much you love your children, even as you acknowledge that they can and do drive you crazy. Love it. He sounds like a really neat kid.

  41. Elizabeth says:

    I love your birthday posts. Do the kids get to read them? Well, the older ones at least? I assume so as this one seems to be addressed right to him.
    And - I can’t help myself, I have to say it - this sounds like a homeschooled boy! 11-year-olds in school just aren’t that self-possessed for the most part. Those that are, though, are considered with suspicion by the others, at least around here. Great job as mom AND educator!

  42. liz says:

    I am completely, totally verklempt.

  43. Danielle says:

    Lovely letter.

    He does know that he’s not allowed to get his licence until he’s actually 16 and not just 16 years of life? :)

  44. Amy says:

    Wow. My oldest is 3 and I long for this day…..

  45. jm says:

    can I send my kid to live with you until she is 11? I will consider myself very lucky if she turns out half as cool as your kids :)

    I loved this.

  46. javamama says:

    Happy Birthday! My son is turning 11 tomorrow, the 2nd, and I remember wondering if we’d get a leap baby.

    I really think my son is lovely (if somewhat smelly and very much messy) and I think I’m going to like 11. Your son and mine could be BFF’s! AND birthday buddies, from your description. Too bad you live there and I live here. :) What a nice declaration of love. I think I ought to attempt the same. My son also has a heart as big as his head inside his chest - he’d love it.

  47. chris says:

    another most wonderful post! does #17 have to do with video games? you are such a wise woman to enjoy your kids so thoroughly!

  48. Rachel Briggs says:

    great post - I will do the same thing for my son on his birthday! - what a great record, I bet he loved it (whilst pretending to be annoyed/embarrassed!?)

  49. Holli Smith says:

    YOU are the cutest mommy in the whole world!
    I thought I was until I saw this!
    LOL!

  50. Erika says:

    Happy Birthday, Great post Chris, as usual you inspire me

  51. Meg says:

    Man, I heart your birthday posts. They make me happy. I’m so glad you have so many kids that I get to read them fairly regularly…;)

    Happy Birthday!

  52. Dee says:

    I’m thinkin’ that #17 was in response to #16?

  53. Jeana says:

    I almost never read posts that are “lists” so it is testament to your talent as a writer that I not only read every word but really enjoyed it.

    And I seem to remember from some pirate movie that pirates only have a birthday every four years. Your son doesn’t happen to have a peg leg or an eyepatch does he? I would ask if you’ve seen any bottles of rum lying around the house, but I’ve read your blog long enough that I’m pretty sure I know the answer to that.

  54. Mary Groves says:

    Chris I read your blog everyday but have never commented. It makes my day! I am the oldest of 6 kids and my husband and I are incredibly blessed with 1 child. Today, less than 10 miles from our house (Atlanta, Georgia) a bus crashed carrying a college baseball team from Ohio (off the overpass of our busiest interstate) as I watched the horror unfold - most of the kids were our son’s age - he too is a college athlete at Georgia Tech - I was reminded so vividly how precious our children are and how life as we know it can change on a dime. Thank you for always celebrating your children - through pictures and letters and the sharing of the day to day craziness. We celebrate with you and in turn cherish our own children all the more. Thank you for sharing your many gifts with us. Mary

  55. Maddy says:

    Happy sniff third sniff birthday waahhhh, he is so lovely, sniff sniff. More beautiful words from a fantastic mother.

  56. rachel says:

    beautiful. sniff sniff sniff

    so, um, after year 9 things get better? I see so much of my difficult one in this, but not quite in the compassion areas yet.

  57. » About my funeral - Actual Unretouched Photo says:

    [...] I want to write a lovely little tribute to my kids (something like this), but instead, I’m obsessed with mentally planning my funeral.  I know!  What is wrong with me?  Well, I attended a funeral a few weeks ago which made me realize that I have some definite ideas about my own funeral and how it ought to be planned.  And then this week, a local man died at home quite suddenly . . . as in, his daughter found him dead when she returned home from school.  He was fifty.  [...]

  58. Heth says:

    I love this Chris.

  59. jen says:

    The way that you sprang back to life so quickly after I killed you - Now that is f.u.n.n.y!
    jen

  60. Pam says:

    I wrote a similar letter to my daughter, on her 15th birthday this year. I’ll write my son, on his 20th birhtday in April, so he doesn’t think I love his sister more. I wasn’t clever enough to think of 132 things, and I don’t have blog, but I love yours!

  61. Darren McLikeshimself says:

    Very sweet, Chris.

  62. Kimi says:

    I just happened to come across your blog and already, I love it! I especially love this letter to your son! He seems so smart and grown up. It is amazing that the small things in life are the ones that stick with you the most. Thanks for letting me into your life! Happy Birthday to your Son! It is awesome he was born on Feb. 29th!

  63. Lee says:

    I don’t even know him, and after reading that list, I think I love him.

    Great job.