Today is my oldest child’s birthday. Adrian Joseph was the first of four miracles God trusted to me. When he arrived he introduced me to the enormity of a mother’s love. He is also the 6’4, 200 pound idiot in my banner picture.
We began our lives together with his utter disregard and lack of respect for the Pill. If that didn’t give me the heads up there was going to be trouble the instantaneous and crippling morning sickness should have. The only thing the child let me keep down was bbq corn chips and then only if I washed them down with grape juice. I lost 20 pounds during that pregnancy and only gained back 19 of it before he was born, weighing 8 pounds. Six of that was head. I was in labor for three, count them three days. The doctor told me I was still hours from delivery, it was time to think about the options and left the room. AJ was born 12 minutes later in a delivery the doctor said reminded him of catching a jet plane at exactly 7:47 PM. I remember that because it was the last appropriate thing he did for 20 years.
By the time he was nine months old he had mastered walking, getting out of his crib and turning a doorknob all with the stealth of an accomplished cat burglar. Out of desperation I installed a hook and eye on the outside of his bedroom door. At ten months he mastered the heretofore unheard of skill of popping said hook by propelling a Little Golden Book up the crack. Things went steadily downhill after that. At three he opened a window and went out taking his one-year-old sister with him. The two of them would still be running if the street weren’t there. They did not have permission to cross.
Meanwhile, he was in no way limited to the Houdini Routine. He was two the day I thought it was naptime. He thought it was time to completely disassemble his little sister’s crib using a dime as a screwdriver. He managed to do this in such a systematic way that I had no idea what he was up to until the entire thing crashed into a pile with a thud that shook the windows. I did a little crashing of my own, into their bedroom and fell into a panicked attempt to extricate her silent and decidedly missing body. Patting my shoulder he said, “Don’t worry, Mommy.” Crossed the room to an empty upside down toy barrel, lifted it and revealed her smiling, contented unsmashed face, making phone calls courtesy of Fisher-Price. No less a sign of things to come but I will save that story for her birthday.
I spent the rest of his childhood trying to convince him to use his powers for good. He concentrated on mastering evil. His resume includes, but is not limited to: demanding an explanation for the role of the penis in baby making at Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma’s house, using his first “real” tools only to take apart his first “real” toolbench, introducing me to internet porn and moving out before high school graduation because he couldn’t face the idea of ever washing another dish.
On the occasion of his twenty-second birthday, he is not only still alive and in one piece, but an actual contributing member of society. A parachute rigger in the United States Army, he frequently jumps out of airplanes, which is right up his alley. He has been twice decorated with the Army Achievement Medal and managed to convince a lovely, thoughtful, kind young woman to marry him. These days my only worries about that boy revolve around her. She is carrying my first grandchild and I did, after all, with malice and forethought curse him with the punishment of having to raise a child who was just like him. I am very, very sorry she had to get drug into this whole mess. When I said that I was to mad to remember there would have to be another woman involved to gestate that six pound head.
I miss you.
I love you, Adrian.