April 30, 2007
Some people might use the word favorite, but I don’t. Favorite implies that the others would be somehow less and they aren’t. The truth is that you touch my heart. It could be because you are so very different from me. The personality traits I love in you are ones I always wished I had.
You are an easy kid to like. You are the sort of child that other people gravitate towards. Boys want to be your friend and girls want your attention. You are never nervous. You are never uncomfortable in your own skin. You are slow to anger and when you do, you get over it quickly.
Yes, so very unlike me.
You were the easiest baby. You never cried. I am not exaggerating about never either. Your father and I were lulled into believing it was because as the fourth child we had perfected our parenting, as if one could parent a newborn. Oh we were so sure of our superior skills that we went and had another baby right away. One who would make us pay for our inflated egos.
You are the first to laugh at jokes. You don’t take anything personally. You could do something that is completely embarrassing, but you would find a way to laugh about it and deflect the embarrassment. Yes, so very unlike me. I would be embarrassed and mortified and rehash the experience over and over again, each time feeling just as embarrassed as the the first time. But this isn’t about me, it’s about you.
Your athleticism amazes me. You are constantly cartwheeling and flipping through the house. I am someone who has never been athletic. I was the girl who always got picked last for the teams and viewed PE at school as torture. People comment on your natural ability all the time and like to compare their less athletically inclined children to you. I am not sure why it irks me so much. But it does and I usually say, “Yeah, but he’s dumb as a stump. It all evens out.” And the beauty of you is that you know I am joking and laugh.
Some of your siblings would be upset if I ever joked about them like that. Or really ever joked about anything about them AT ALL. But you think it is hysterically funny. You don’t take yourself too seriously. I’d like to take credit for it, like I do your blonde hair, but I can’t. I have six other children raised in the same house in the same way as you, and so far not one of them has the self esteem you do. And I have never heard one of them deeply sigh and say, “I love me.”
Your love for bad television is unparalleled. You love every show that the Disney channel has ever put on. And no matter how much the rest of us groan when we hear the theme song for the Suite Life of Zach and Cody, or cry when That’s SO Raven begins, you are convinced that we are the ones with no taste. (As a funny aside, for the longest time you thought the name of the show was Fatso Raven. You refused to believe that was not the name. “But it makes more sense, Mom?”)
I frequently have to remind you that we are not living in a sitcom, so great is your love for the one liners and over dramatic facial expressions. Then one day you discovered this:
For about a month this winter we were treated to the frequent use, some might dare to say OVER-use, of the ironic air quotes.
You are one of the unfortunate middle children in this family. One who was born before I owned a digital camera, but after the novelty of photographing everything and running to the one hour photo developing store wore off. Digital photography has made capturing every mundane moment of our lives possible.
When I was a kid photographs were reserved for special occasions and Sears Portrait studio. But now I have made up for it. We might be lacking the photographic evidence to prove you didn’t spring from my forehead as a 5 yr old. But don’t worry, we have lots of photos like this one to make up for it.
If I were going to sum up your eighth year with eight things about you, this would be it:
1) Jack o’lantern teeth. We wonder if you are ever going to regrow the teeth you have lost.
2) Ironic air quotes. These slay me. Especially because you usually use them correctly.
3) Disney Channel. You really think the world would be a better place if the Disney channel was allowed to play in our house all day long. And I am a mean hideous tyrant because it is only allowed to be turned on during the weekends.
4) Cartwheels. You can not walk or run from place to place in the house. You must cartwheel there. And it drives me crazy when you are supposed to be unloading the dishwasher and you insist on doing one handed cartwheels across the kitchen to put the things away. Why one handed? Because you are holding the dishes, or whatever in your other hand.
5) Your accent. I am not sure if it should technically be called an accent, or if it is some sort of speech impediment, but you sound like you live in Boston. Your alphabet has no letter ‘R’ For fun we have you say “Pahk the cah in Havahd yahd” all the time. Unfortunately your name has the letter R in it and people are always confused. Unusual name + strange accent = fun times.
6) Your hair. It hangs into your eyes and you like it that way. You refuse to have it cut. Luckily your hair looks pretty good long. If by pretty good we mean long straggly mop. If the hair gets much longer and I just may sneak into your room with the scissors while you are sleeping.
7) Reading. You are finally reading. Sort of. You can read. You just prefer to guess based solely on the first letter of the word. I am forever asking you if reading is a guessing game. And you are forever answering, “yes, it is!”
8 ) Your big heart and generous spirit. And the fact that it will not bother you one bit to know that I am well over a month late finishing this post about your birthday. We did have cake on your birthday. That should count for something.
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