Today is Luke's 14th birthday. It's a double milestone because tomorrow he graduates from 8th grade!
This picture says it all. He has been a Ram's fan since the age of 6, much to the chagrin of my father-in-law, a die-hard Broncos fan. We have no idea where the allegiance to St. Louis came from. But it is deep and unwavering, ever typical of Luke's solid and steadfast loyalty.
And, for him, baseball IS life. From the time he was a toddler and threw a beanbag the length of our living room and bulls-eyed a picture over the fire place, he's had an amazing arm. I don't know who was more surprised, me or him, but he was most delighted at what he'd done. I still haven't replaced the glass in the picture.
As my second-born son, I thought I was well-prepared for what another boy would be like. I remember the first time I held him and he looked back at me with a steady gaze. I have to admit I was a bit perplexed, because something was different. My friend, the mother of five, came to see him when he was a few days old, and as though reading my thoughts, she said, "I remember when my second baby was born. You just expect them to be a little miniature of the first, like having the first baby all over again. Which is ridiculous, because every baby is different. And I looked at my second baby and said, 'I don't know you! But I know I love you with all my heart.'" And I knew that I couldn't wait to get to know my new little boy. And he has taught me so many things.
Besides teaching me everything I know about baseball, he's shown me how fun it is to have a favorite sports team. When I couldn't come up with one on my own, he found one for me (the Green Bay Packers), and now I have a favorite baseball team, the Colorado Rockies, of course. He's taught me that strong, determined, head strong little boys also have the softest and most loving hearts. He's taught me that people can be total opposites, but still look up to one another as a hero, the way he looks up to his big brother.
There are some things that I just don't get, but I've learned to accept. Why would you slide into a mud puddle, on your stomach, just for the heck of it? And how is that someone who is so meticulous about his food, who can spot a foreign speck of seasoning from a mile away and won't eat anything that his brother or sister have even looked at, will sleep with a big, black dog who sheds over every inch of his bed? How is it that he can make a 3-point basket, but can't get his socks in the hamper? And how is it that he loves scarey, crash and burn movies, and yet can make me a cup of tea with just the right amount of milk and sugar so it's just the way I like it, and it tastes better than something I would be served at a high tea.
When I see him laughing and joking with my daughter, it reminds me how much fun it was to have a big brother. Big brothers have the best sweatshirts to borrow. They'll always protect you, even if putting you in a wrestling hold is their idea of a good time. They may gross you out, but they know the funniest jokes. By having a big brother my daughter will grow up without the starry-eyed illusions that a lot of girls have about boys. She'll be wise that way!
So, to my 8 lb 1 oz baby boy, who now stands past my shoulder and wears a size 12 shoe, and has an even bigger heart, Happy Birthday, Luke! I love you! xoxoxoxo