Today he turns 13.
I'm going to not talk about that fact that by him turning 13, it means that we now have 2 teenagers in the house, BOY TEENAGERS - which means that I will have to acquire more funds than a Saudi Prince in order to keep them fed. It means that you cannot even wrap your brain around the sheer quantity of flatulence jokes and locker room talk that takes place in my living room on any given day. It also means that I do more laundry than you, but I'm not going to talk about any of that stuff.
I am going to talk about this boy.
This boy is the best boy.
From the moment I saw him for the very first time, I was mesmerized by my little big baby. He was born by the rules, he was perfect. The doctor delivered him, stretched a tiny hat over his round head and handed him to me where I greeted him with tearful joy. We stayed like that for what seemed like hours. When we took off his hat to give him his first bath and saw something on his head that we could not comprehend, that suffocating mother fear that something was wrong with my baby was the only thing I could hear in the room. I couldn't hear the nurse. I couldn't hear my husband. All I knew was that he needed to be ok. This needed to be alright. And I knew that I loved this little big guy, more than I ever thought I could.
When the doctor explained the next day that what he had on the top of his head was called an ectodermal defect, and that it was nothing more, I began to breathe again. It would heal and he would be ok. And we would wait and see what to do about it down the line.
Poor baby, I thought. It just isn't fair.
When he was 4, he had surgery to have what had turned into a rather large scar on the top of his head removed at Children's Hospital. He was so brave, braver than any adult facing surgery. He clutched his favorite stuffed dog as the anesthesiologist guided him under and we kissed him goodbye. When it was all over, he ate his Popsicles, drank his 7-up and couldn't wait to get home.
He never once complained, this boy.
You know, as a parent, you think "Ok, this child has been through something most kids will never have to face," and you tell yourself that the rest of his life will be a joyride compared to this because what 4-year-old has to have surgery?
And then, life happens.
From the moment he became a big brother, I knew his sister had nothing to worry about. His heart is large and his kindness is endless. I remember how he used to worry when she'd cry.
And oh, she cried a lot.
He'd ask me, "Mama, is she ok?" And I'd look at him tiredly and say that yes, she was going to be okay. We'd do this over and over again, day in and day out, everyday it seemed of his first year being the big brother while his big brother didn't seem to be bothered by it at all.
Wyatt lost his front tooth while playing with his buddy. Not his baby tooth, his brand-new permanent tooth that was just growing in. And when I say "lost" I mean lost, as in the entire tooth fell out into his little hand, root and all.
After more dental procedures than I have ever had in my entire life and 2 years of trips to a special endodontist and several root canals, he kept that tooth, but barely. And again, I found myself saying, "Enough."
And so on and so on and scooby dooby dooby.
Then came the tummy troubles. endoscopies, colonoscopies and a restrictive diet that eliminated all sugars, even the kind in fruit. No fruit! How could this child still be smiling?
And yet, he still was, this boy. Smiling and laughing and being a normal everyday kid, except he isn't a normal everyday kid, he's Wyatt. And his resolve is stronger than anyone I know.
This boy. During the 3rd grade Wyatt asked the student council at his school to contribute to a childrens home in Africa. He'd already raised over $500 on his own and they matched it! This boy, who'd already been through so much himself, he did that.
When I was in the 3rd grade, I was mostly concerned with my Strawberry Shortcake doll collection, not thinking about orphans in Africa. Granted, technology has made our world smaller in many ways since my childhood, but really, how many 10 year-olds do you know who have done something that incredible, all on their own?
Wyatt continued in this vein, with every passing year. It's like his heart just grew bigger and bigger and bigger.
I just got off the telephone with a really nice lady at the health department. I recognized her voice right away from the extensive conversations I had with her 3 years ago when my husband was part of an e.coli outbreak. Again, I grabbed my marked up calendar and went through the dates with her. Who was he with? Was anyone else coughing? Where did he go? But this time, she was asking about Wyatt.
This boy has whooping cough.
It's his birthday.
Since he was vaccinated, he is not as sick as he could be. And if you saw him and he was not coughing, you wouldn't even guess that he was sick. But he is. And it's serious. Now that we have a correct diagnosis, he has to be quarantined for a week while the antibiotics do their job. Our entire family has to be treated as well as those who have been in close contact with him. Our friends have to watch and be aware of symptoms. It's not fun and again I find myself thinking, "Enough."
Enough for this boy.
It's this boys birthday and my wish for him is that it's done. Enough. He's already the kindest person in any room at any time. His care and love for others is evident. He gives with all that he is without asking for anything in return. He deserves a year off. A year with nothing but happiness. Just a year, is that so much to ask?
“Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."
-Christopher Robin to Pooh