Sunday, October 27, 2013

Leaving Behind His Teens

This week, my oldest son, my second child, turns 20.
I won't get to be with him, so that makes me a little sad, but luckily his father has flown down to Florida so they'll get to spend some time together for his birthday.

From the minute Spencer arrived, two weeks early, he has been curious. As a toddler, as a kid, as a teenager. I hope he never loses that.
Recalling Spencer as a little guy, I can hear the echo of his footsteps as he made the early morning dash from his bedroom, across the wood-floor landing toward our bed before he dived in between me and Earl. We teased him when he was little that he should wear the box instead of the shoe because his feet were so square, as wide as they were long.
Thud, thud, thud, his feet would race across the landing.
When he was very young, Earl started a thing with him. If Spencer pressed Earl's nose, Earl would beep.
One morning early, Spencer pressed on Earl's nose. Earl was too tired to respond. Spencer pressed again. Still nothing.
"Hmmm," Spencer said. "Must need new batteries."
Spencer and his Gran.
He loved castles and knights, plus swords and armor. He wanted to fight dragons and bad guys.
He's always loved sports and grew from a chunky little boy to a wiry school kid (even though he homeschooled). He practiced basketball until he injured the growth plate in his elbow. He played quarterback in 6th grade football because he was the only one who could memorize the plays.
He decided he wanted to go to real school in eighth grade, so we moved to a small town where we could enroll the kids. Grace started school then too, and Tucker followed six months later.
He's always loved being with friends, more than my other kids. Even the pictures of him as a little boy show him with an arm thrown around another guy's shoulders.
Even today, his buddies come first.

He had some tough times trying to figure out who he is and what he stands for as a teenager, but as he turns 20, I hope he's more sure about himself and his abilities.

He knows he loves nature and plans a career as an environmental scientist. He takes a kayak out on Tampa Bay and paddles to islands covered by mangroves before leaning back and sleeping in the sunshine.
So he's far away in the sunshine this weekend, taking a couple of days to spend with his dad and his grandparents (my parents), doing his laundry and eating homemade meals (steak was his first request). Also helping to paint their house because he remains a generous guy who doesn't mind helping out, even on his birthday.
Happy birthday, Spencer.
I can't wait to see what you accomplish in the next 20 years.


Susan Lindquist said...

Brought a tear to my eye ... every mother deeply loves the memories and the growth of each of her children ... never more evident than in your post.

Vicki said...

What a great post! It was nice hearing about Spencer growing up!

Great photos too!

Brona said...

What a lovely serenade to your son's childhood. He must feel very loved.

The photo that caught my eye though, was the last one...his t-shirt...Palm Beach, NSW...just a half hour drive from where I live :-)

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