My son is 10 today. As we like to tell him (after hearing the saying from a good friend), he's the one we've loved the longest. He's the one who taught us, through trial and error, how to be parents. He's such a funny, curious, loving child, and it boggles my mind how much of his father (and me, if I'm being honest) I can see in him, yet he's also so much more than either or both of us. On the occasion of his 10th birthday, here are 10 reasons he's an amazing kid.
- He has a whip-smart sense of humor. I'm not an overly braggy mother (I tend to inwardly roll my eyes at parents who constantly say their kid is the smartest/most beautiful/most talented), but he really is a funny kid. It can definitely veer on the "sophisticated" (sarcastic) side, but he's known for making his teachers, friends (and family, natch) laugh with his one-liners.
- He loves nature. I never had a fascination with the outdoors as a kid, but this child just loves learning about animals, habitats, meteorology, and astronomy. He and his father make regular trips to visit the natural history museums in DC and NYC, where they geek out together about all of the latest exhibits.
- He is kind. Kindness, as my friend Patience writes about, is important to cultivate in children. Of my three kids, he's the one most likely to ask me how I'm feeling and whether he can do anything help. Recently, when I was going through a lot of health issues, he came home from school and made me a cup of hot cocoa and a quesadilla. Those foods don't usually go together, but it was a lovely "get well mama" treat.
- He remembers his Abuela. Because he was 6 1/2 when she died, he's the only one of my kiddos who really remembers Mami. They had a special bond. She lived with us for two years in Brooklyn, and she would pick him up from pre-school every day at 4PM. Afterward they would go to Miss. Ellie's bodega or the long-defunct Peaches Ice Cream shop together for a treat. When he was not quite 5 years old, my son announced to his grandmother: "Abuela, I'm going to be a doctor when I grow up, so I can make you all better." Oh how she loved to tell that story. I do too.
- He reads for pleasure. We weren't sure it was going to happen, because as a kindergartner, first and second grader, he only wanted to read non-fiction books about science and nature, but at some point near the end of second grade, we discovered the joy of Harry Potter together, and he's since become as addicted to fiction (mostly fantasy, graphic novels, and sci-fi) as I am. It's lovely to go into a bookstore with him and know
- He's a good sport. Notice I didn't say he's good AT sports, because that wouldn't really be precise. But he is a good sport during the various team sports we make encourage him to play every year. So far, he doesn't seem destined for any athletic scholarships, but he isn't afraid to participate and play for fun.
- He's a great friend. He's created these fabulous bonds with four or five boys, and they're all awesome kids. One BFF he's known since he was born and is more a cousin than a friend. That one we're sure will be our son's close friend for life. Seriously, they're future Best Man kind of friends.
- He's curious. His favorite shows are "Mythbusters" and "How It's Made." He tinkers with everything and has to know how they were built or how they come apart This is definitely a trait he inherited from his father.
- He makes connections. I remember my high-school English teachers telling us that making connections between art, literature, music and the rest of the world, the rest of life, was an important skill, and I can see how that's true with my own kid. The other day we had an in-depth conversation about orphans in books and movies, and it was like a dream come true (I love talking about the plucky orphan archetype).
- He loves his siblings. Sure, he fights with them occasionally (especially his sister, who's three years younger than him and three years older than "The Baby"), but he's such a good big brother. Honestly, I'm sure my younger two will grow up singing his praises, because he's not the cruel, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" type of big brother who delights in his younger siblings' misery. He's never decapitated his sister's dolls or dared his brother to paint his face green. Oldest brothers can be a dictatorial and mean, but not him.
Pictured: The birthday boy with his baby brother and cousin.