'little bitty child when you laugh, I smile'
On Saturday, two people very important in my life will be celebrating their respective birthdays. The first is the one and only Mr. Neil Diamond, a man I hold in such high honor I feel he must be looked at with eyes first cast downward in reverence until such time as His Holiness grants you permission to look upon him.
I am not kidding. In my opinion, Neil Leslie Diamond, that New York City boy born and raised, is the tits, and if you've ever so much as hummed along to Sweet Caroline, you know that's true. You also know you can't just hum along to Sweet Caroline. Nobody can. I guarantee you, when (not if!) you hear that song start, before you even realize what's going on, you've started singing along with it. Neil Diamond is Pavlov and we are all his salivating dogs.
However, this post isn't about Neil Diamond. No. That one is coming some day. Today's post is about the other very important person in my life celebrating a birthday on Saturday - my youngest son, who will turn seven years old. His official time of birth is 10:55 p.m. (in the event you wish to raise a glass of apple juice or perhaps an appletini in his honor). He's asked me to wake him to mark the occasion, and I may be a lot of things, but I'm no fool. You don't wake that kid up after he's fallen asleep unless you want to battle with a beast far worse than anything you can even imagine and then multiply that by two.
This has been a big year for my son, who is a rapidly growing, wiry mass of Unstoppable. Every time he turns around, he's losing teeth and growing out of shoes, yet each time I think he's growing just enough to escape my reach, he comes into a room and charges into me for a hug. Each time he does, I hold him a little tighter, squeeze him a little harder, hoping to hold back the day when he realizes girls are yucky, and oh, hey, I'm a girl. When we can be quiet in the moment, I often whisper my thanks for him, careful not to let my breath flutter his ash blond hair and cause him to move from me.
It's also been a tough year. For the first time in his life, my son realized there are people who will act out at you for no other reason than "because." It's safe to say that I may have cried more tears over this experience than my son did, and when you consider I wiped a lot of tears from his cheeks, you can be sure I wept a lot knowing he was hurting. I'm happy to say that today, after a lot of work with school administrators and staff, the situation is no longer an issue, and it's a joy to walk my smiling, happy son to the corner each morning for the bus again.
On my computer is a picture of my son sporting green swim goggles, hands on his hips, his gaze aimed skyward, just like the most awesome of awesomest superheroes. I love it because he looks just like the performer he is. He's already very much a patron of the arts the arts, and quick with a the jokes. Unlike his birthday buddy, Neil, my son is not quite the Master O' The Song. Sadly, his songs are often best classified as straight up noise rather than a beautiful noise. Case in point - his chart bottom dweller called Fart. It goes a little something like this: "Fart, fart, fart, fart, I'm going to fart! Fart, fart, fart, fart, didja smell that fart?" As you can imagine, I get a little weary of hearing this song, but when I think of asking him to stop, I hear Neil's voice in my head, telling me to let the little boy sing. So I let him, and I drink a little more red, red wine (followed by a double shot of love on the rocks) to make it through his encore number.
So happy birthday to my son. And to Neil. And to Yakov Smirnoff and Mary Lou Retton.Sorry I couldn't tie you two into this post. Maybe next year.
p.s. - I just realized I share a birthday with Frida Lyngstad, one-fourth of the musical powerhouse known as ABBA - aka the best frickin' supergroup in the world because hello! Have you ever NOT sang along to DancingQueen? I rest my case. Be prepared for that post in November!