Like any self-respecting helicopter parent, I have observed a thing or two about my son in all my hovering.
He has yet to utter a word, and mean it. He hasn’t fully transitioned to a sippy cup. There is little to no demonstrated interest in walking. And he has not mastered a single eating utensil… not even the spoon!
But I will tell you what my son can do.
He squeals with joy every time the dog pads by, praying to go unnoticed. He is a remote control enthusiast. He steals Daddy’s glasses any chance he gets. He cries profusely when his trolley hits a dead end at the far side of the hall.
The tiny thing blows kisses. He exuberantly throws a ball. He hands you his last blueberry. He waves a fervent goodbye.
In the morning, he is content to babble softly and “read” his books until his family arrives to wake him.
And — and! — this beautiful, sweet boy can do “cheers.”
So forgive me if I drink to all of that.
First thing’s first: when the wine is white,
And the only available vessel is a red Solo cup.
And maybe you are pouring it quickly
For a colleague whose efforts are about to pay off;
Or a boss who is a role model in work and in life;
Or a team that gets together but once a year,
In the jungle of Florida,
In the middle of June.
It’s OK to put ice in your wine
When it’s 80 degrees at night,
And the cooler is already full,
And music is playing somewhere,
And laughter is all around you,
And you feel compelled to dance.
Swirl that cheap Chardonnay around,
Let those ice cubes rattle in their cup.
Life is good,
Work is fun,
And you, my friend, are lucky.
Henry turned one last month, and an even stranger thing happened.
We celebrated in the customary way, presenting him with an enormous piece of birthday cake amidst singing, applause, and candles.
When it was all over, this is what remained.
So the strangeness was that I couldn’t bring myself to throw out that plate. All day I kept it on the kitchen counter, lingering each time I walked by, taking in this messy, sugary still life.
Part of my incredulity, of course, was down to the fact that here was my son’s first birthday cake — insert all the obligatory sentiments that a parent has about the passage of time.
But there was more to it than that.
I stared at that plate in wonder because he dove right in to this new thing that was put in front of him. Quite literally, he embraced that cake, in all its frosted glory, because he knew inherently that it was something special. My son recognized one of the good moments in life and did not allow it to pass him by. He completely nailed it, even when he wasn’t quite sure what “it” was.
Without a doubt, I am learning much more from this boy than any knowledge that he may be gleaning from me. Here again, with this sad piece of destroyed confection smeared across a blue Chinet plate, he reminded me to savor the sweet things.