Thirteen years ago tonight, my stomach hurt more than it had the month prior. A group of us were sitting at the Boiling Springs Tavern, celebrating our dear friend’s birthday. My friend, Anna, recognized a quick grimace, glanced at me and smiled, knowing my contractions started. “Shhhh,” I mouthed. That night I didn’t sleep.
What will he be like? What will he think of me? Would he be healthy, happy, honest, humble, and honorable? How long would it take to meet him? What would I tell the nurses? Would anyone come to see me? Would the church welcome him; would my friends welcome him; would my family welcome him? Just how alone would we be?
Trenton James Andrew, at 7:41 p.m. tomorrow evening thirteen years ago, you brought me into this world. You are all the beautiful things about our little life wrapped into one genuine human. You’re an old soul full of wisdom, wit, and wonder. You love ferociously and adopt all animals big and small. You are Grandma’s biggest helper. You have a strong sense of conviction and rigorous tenacity. You love old music and playing the violin and clarinet, and you lose yourself in theater and the arts. You’re a competitive golfer because of your Grandfather’s love and dedication, and a natural at all sports. You’re up for adventure anytime, any place. You adore travel and reading, thoughtful gifts, playing basketball after school with our friends, eclectic cuisine, and trying new things. You’re an absolute expert on athletic shoes. Your favorite person is your Auntie Tito because she lets you get away with anything!
In the past two years, you’ve learned what it’s like to be a military kid when your mom left you with friends and family for seven months to go play on submarines. You’ve learned how to navigate Venice’s canals and the winding streets of Sicily. You’ve learned what sacrifice is when you said goodbye to your friends to move halfway around the world to Italy. You saw where Anne Frank lived and listened to the Westertoren with tears in your eyes under the Amsterdam moon. You cried next to me on our spring break trip to Paris when we thought we were losing Grandpa and couldn’t get there in time. You know Paris’ museums like the back of your hand and can make caponata, tagliatelle, and ragu. You’ve learned what it’s like to be a little ostracized when the Italian kids in town joke around in a language you don’t yet know. You know your Picassos from your Renoirs from your Van Goghs and have a soft spot for Montmartre. You’ve learned what consent means, how to practice it, and how to routinely check in with your partner. You’ve learned how to do your hair each morning just the way you like it. You’ve learned that you love arancini and granita, and that going to a DODEA school is pretty darn cool. You’ve discovered that you’re a pretty good writer and that if you pay attention in math, it really isn’t that tough.
You’ve met new friends and will celebrate tomorrow by treating your friends to bowling and a movie, and helping as we make your favorite chicken curry over white rice, served with a glass of prosecco for dinner.
You are the absolute love of your mother’s life and I’m so thankful that you are my son. Happy thirteenth birthday, Little Wonder. Here’s to many many more!!!