Thursday, September 20, 2007

Happy Birthday, Joe!

Today, Joe, our oldest child, turns 18. Wow. Eighteen. It feels like a milestone for all of us. Being the "old soul" that he is, he's glad that the rest of the world finally acknowledges him as an adult. At long last he can open his own checking account and register to vote. And for me . . well, I feel as though I should get a certificate or something for having gotten him this far. Other than a broken wrist and a missing appendix, he's pretty much in one piece.

The scarey part is how quickly the past 18 years have flown by. Granted, there were days that seemed endless, but truly those were few and far between -- getting through 3rd grade "definitions" assignments come to mind. Thank goodness for scrapbooks and  journaling. There were so many of those "I'll never forget this" moments, that are forgotten, but I did manage to document a few of the important ones.

I'm writing this as though my job is done and he'll be moving out next week. Of course, that's not true. (Thank God!) My grandmother's advice for raising kids was to "bury them at two and dig them up at eighteen." If that were the case, Joe should be perfectly seasoned about now and ready to face the world on his own. And this is where I find myself in a panic. I'm not done with him yet! There are still so many things I have left to teach him -- how to separate the whites from the darks, Ramen is not a balanced diet in itself, and neck ties aren't supposed to go through the washing machine.

However, for now, I choose nostalgia as I think back to the night we brought him home. His first three weeks of life were spent in a cradle home, where a young couple and their children adored him and cared for him and snuggled him for us, until we could bring him home for our very own. I remember holding him for the first time, falling in love at first sight, changing him into the soft blue sleeper we had so carefully chosen for him, and then, taking him out to the car to put him in his new car seat. It was almost dreamlike and I recall whispering to Dan, "They're not even checking that we put him in the car the right way!" One day it was just the two of us, the next day it was literally as though a stork had dropped this priceless cargo in our laps. Driving home that night, I sat in the back seat as close to him as the car seat would allow. With anticipation, I waited for each street light that we passed, to shine a soft light on Joey's little face, so I could watch him sleep.

I still look at him and see the light shining on his face -- it must be the reflection of the stars in my eyes for this baby boy who has grown into a young man I'm so proud to call my son.

Happy birthday, Joey. I love you! xoxo


kris said...

Happy Birthday to Joe!
What a lovely tribute to your son. Those years really do fly by - but I'm thinking you and your husband have done a really terrific job - and he's gonna be just fine! He's a very handsome young man - and lucky to have a loving mom like you.

Judy said...

How beautiful!

From here on out it just keeps getting better and better.

Adult children are WOOOONDERFUL to have.

Southern Girl said...

What a lovely memory of your son's arrival in your family! Sounds like God truly blessed all of you when He sent Joey to you. Hope he has a fantastic birthday!

Robin said...

Oh Karen, that was so sweet. I just love when mama's write about their love for their kids. Your Joe is a blessed young man and something tells me he knows it!
Happy Birthday Joe!

gail@more than a song said...

Happy birthday to Joe! That was so sweet Karen...I'm sure he feels blessed to have you as his mom.
I loved your grandmother's saying, so true sometimes! But they're just wonderful to have around too, fun times....enjoy the day with him!

Becky said...

Happy birthday indeed! I hope it is a wonderful celebration. What a handsome young man.

Tristi Pinkston said...

Happy Birthday, Joe!

And that is one doting mama! :)

Bill said...

Handsome, yes, but what I see is a friendly smile and kind eyes. I'm sure he knows what a lucky guy he is to have a family that loves him so much. Two of my favorite cousins are adopted, and I cherish them. I'm closer to them than many of my other cousins. Blood may be thicker than water, but what in the heck does that mean??? Love is thicker than anything. Happy Birthday to Joe!

Jen said...

Happy Birthday to Joe! Such nice words.

Karen said...

Awwww...thank you for sharing his coming home birthday story with us. They do grow up so quickly, don't they.
Happy 18th to Joe!
Very handsome fella!

Stacy at Exceedingly Mundane said...

Oh my goodness, another post that just really tugged at my heart and mind. So beautiful Karen, so well written and heartfelt. :)

Happy Birthday to Joe! Hope you have a great day and a wonderful year!!!

Anonymous said...

Eighteen years, I remember sitting in your kitchen holding Joey like it was yesterday. Happy Birthday Joey.

Another beautiful post Karen :)

Candace Salima (LDS Nora Roberts) said...

What a wonderful thing you have written for your son. Print it and put it in one of his scrapbooks. That is a must save for any child.

justabeachkat said...

What a beautifully written post. So sweet. Happy birthday to Joe!


Jungle Mom said...

well done!