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James grew up

Happy Birthday James

Happy Birthday James

Today’s my son’s birthday. He’s a Libra just like me, and in Chinese astrology he’s a Dog, just like me. He was born on his due date, which only happens with 10% of all babies. He’s 27 years old – the same age Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain were when they died. Twenty-seven. Pretty much all grown up.

James has his own internet radio show every Thursday night, so we celebrated his birthday last night. I cooked up a feast – his all-time favourite beer-batter chicken balls, along with cheesy scalloped potatoes, roasted vegetables and home-made, from scratch, cinnamon rolls. With yeast and kneading and everything. I hadn’t made those since he was a little boy.

James and cats

James and cats

He was such a sweet little boy. Everybody loved him. Especially me. He was smart and kind and funny and very, very cute. He was the best little kid in the world, and I’m not just saying that because I’m his mother. He really was. He had an endless stream of questions and ideas and observations about everything imaginable. Cats used to follow him down the street. (This may have had something to do with the container of Pounce he kept in his pocket.)

When they’re little like that, you don’t really believe they’ll ever grow up. Childhood seems like such a long time when you have a brand-new baby. It stretches out endlessly ahead of you, the way summer stretches out on the last day of school when you’re 10. You’ve got all the time in the world.

But then, just like the cliche, it’s all over before you know it. It goes so fast. And suddenly, the sweet little boy with the endless questions is 27 years old. He’s pretty much all grown up.

James and Bird

James and Bird

Speaking of growing up, when James was five years old, he and my mother and I drove to Orangeville to visit my sister and her family. Over the course of the weekend, the stomach flu struck her house with some ferocity, mowing down everybody in its path. I was sick all Sunday night, and on Monday morning there was a window of opportunity for us to escape – James and my mother hadn’t fallen ill yet, and we figured we should get out while we could. James had breakfast – Alphabits and grape juice – and Deb gave me some baby Gravol for the road, just in case.

James washed all the dishes!

James washed all the dishes!

We didn’t make it far. We stopped for coffee at a donut shop, where, without warning, James suddenly threw up a mountain of purple letters on the table. I took him into the washroom to clean him up, and my mom cleaned up the mountain of purple letters. Meanwhile, the disgusted teenaged employees watched from a safe distance, with expressions on their faces that clearly said they were never, ever going to have kids.

When we got back to the car, I gave James a Gravol pill. He swallowed it and then asked me what it was for.

“It’ll keep you from throwing up,” I said.

He started crying…deep, racking, heartbroken sobs.

“What’s the matter?” I cried, kneeling down and wrapping him in my arms.

“But I wanted to grow up,” he sobbed. “I wanted to grow up and be a Dad!”

Happy Birthday James. I love you very much. If there had been a pill I could have given you to keep you from growing up, I would have been sorely tempted. And even though I sometimes miss the little boy that you were, I’m very proud of the man you’ve grown up to be.

20 comments to James grew up

  • *sniffle* What a lovely birthday post!

    When he was little you two had the exact same voice and I couldn’t tell you apart on the phone. Then all of a sudden around 14 his voice “grew up”.

    It’s neat, with this houseful of kids spanning from 18 down to almost 2 I’d want a pill to slow down the growing up, just to keep the middles where they are a little longer….5 and 9 could stretch on a decade happily if I had my way. With the 18 yr old I see him stretching to be a man and I wouldn’t deny him, the 16 year old too…the 2 year old so wants to be a big kid..

  • Aw, that’s adorable!

    I’m certainly not in that 10%. I was born nine days late, and I haven’t been on time for anything since.

    – RG>

  • This post made me tear up. He does seem like the best little boy in the world! I’m sure he’s turning into the best young man in the world, too.

  • XUP

    I laughed, I cried, I never wanted it to end. Very sweet. Happy Birthday, Best Boy in the World.

  • grace

    Happy, happy birthday to James Creator of Mountains.

    My ‘big’ girl, who arrived a month early and just in time for the week of Christmas parties, will be 27 and I cannot believe so much time has gone by. Daughter number two, who has always loved her nest, was late but made our February special forever.

    Daughter number three was born on her due date; within twenty minutes of leaving the house she was born and fed and I was ready for my own breakfast as it was wheeled down the hall. She is also a Libra just like her Dad. Yup, two birthdays, moving to a new city and our business fiscal year-end next week. Enough to make a nest-loving Virgo weep.

  • Woodsy

    How could he not be the best boy in the world with such a wonderful mom… Happy birth day to you Zoom.

    It’s the Erratic Genius’s birthday today too.

  • Bonnie

    thanks for sharing those memories. My fisrt son was due on my birthday and he was 4 days late. I was glad he had his own birthday. My second son was born on a Friday the 13th which was his due date. We both love when Friday the 13th rolls around. We consider it a very lucky day.

  • lucy

    My son was due on my sister’s birthday but came a day early, so he has his own birthday. Bonnie, in my extended family (my mother and her siblings and parents) there are many people born on the 13th (not necessarily Friday, though) so we too consider 13 to be a lucky number. Zoom, happy birthday to your not-little-anymore boy! I can’t imagine my son at 27… another 22 years to go!

  • futurelandfill

    Someone said that parents have just a few years, four or five or six, to shape our childrens’ psyches. After that we just get to react, wisely or not, and pay the bills, emotional, financial, and otherwise. Glib as it sounds, I expect there’s truth to be found in that analysis.

    Sounds like you pegged it right back when. Why am I not surprised?

    I’m with Woodsy tho’, I’m an old guy now but I still call my mother on my birthday (never remember hers!) and say thanks or some other trite sentiment. Not like I had anything to do with it…

  • TechWood

    Brilliantly heart warming post. Thank You!


  • Oma

    A lovely tribute to a great kid (and man) … I remember that trip and the grape Koolaid incident … and also remember James singing a song to Kati about how you can’t always have what you want … he already knew!

  • Aww, you gotta love a boy who likes cats!

  • melinda

    Thanks for that post. It’s nice to hear such love flow.

    I’m also certain he just loves that you shared that story with the rest of the world. :0)

  • felonius bunk

    moms are sooo objective…as i’ve mentioned, james is the sweetest kid i ever met (some kinda magic? ‘white sceince’?) and this from someone who in general would probably prefer them with garlic – congratulations, z!

  • Deb

    He is still one of the sweetest…happy “birth” day to both of you.

  • Oh, that surprise ending made me tear up! So beautifully written. You’re right, it’s nearly impossible to imagine my boys as grown-up men some day, but it’s lovely to see that they can still be written about with humour and affection even when they’re big!

  • Lucy

    P.S. Zoom, In these pictures James looks exactly like you in the few pictures of yourself that I’ve seen on your blog. You both have the exact same smile!

  • Oma

    It is lovely to have those memories, especially when you look at the man who now looms over you. My favourite memory of the little TechWood dates back to his being about 8 or 9. He climbed up on my lap for a rare cuddle. I noticed that he was getting heavier and heavier each time, and said, “What are we going to do when you get too big to sit on my lap?”

    His response was, “Then you’ll have to sit on mine.”

    I have discovered that the sweetness that existed in the boy will manifest itself in the man.

  • Nat

    hahaha… what a great story.

    Happy birthday james…

    Beer battered chicken eh? Remind me to ask you for the recipe.(The Cinnamon rolls I’ll leave to the professionals.)