I’m sitting here on this most beautiful of mornings - so thankful for the sun, so thankful for the quiet. All I hear is the neighbor raking her yard, the hum and bubbling of the diffuser blowing cedar wood and Douglas Fir oil mist across my way, and wild birds in the distance.
I’m thinking about this weekend at the fair and how scared I was about so many things - carnival rides crashing, a bad person trying to steal you, mob fights breaking out, germs. I was on high alert from the moment we got out of the car and stood on the sidewalk. The safe, confined car where we were all together with good things like child locks and seat belts behind us and the unpredictable, danger-filled future, I mean County Fair before us.
You were trying to be cool and act unimpressed with all the fairy-ness of the fair, but when you saw that Zero Gravity ride, your eyes lit up and you practically skipped to the line. You stood there, a head taller than almost everyone around you. You swiped your card and they let you on and my insides started yelling, “No! He is only E-LE-VEN!! He is a MASTIFF PUPPY!! He looks big but he is still very little on the inside!!” I was so scared seeing you on that ride alone (I mean there may have been 30 other people with you, but you were alone in the sense that I wasn’t with you and neither was Honey).
I watched from below and saw you spinning and smiling - and I was so happy for you - like jump and clap and wave pompoms happy. Then suddenly you stopped smiling and closed your eyes and your head tilted toward your right shoulder and I told Uncle, “Oh no. He passed out!! He’s white!! I think he feels sick!!” Uncle just laughed and told me the way he always does, “Lighten up, Francis. You gotta learn to relax.” I shot him “The Look” because this was no time for jokes. I was wondering if you would rather I tell the ride attendant to stop the ride before you barfed or after you barfed. Thankfully, I saw you smile again, and you held one arm out like a zombie. I’m not sure what you were doing. Probably just being an eleven year old weirdo, which is exactly how I like you.
Then the ride was over and you stumbled out smiling your wildly happy, goofy, puppy smile at us.
You did it Bubba. The scary ride. By yourself.
And you loved it.
So of course I’m sitting on the couch this morning crying my eyes out because that’s what mamas do when goofy puppies grow up. And I’m thinking about what's next. What is the next scary, grown up thing that you will joyfully skip toward without me? What is that next adventure that will send you spinning against the sky as I watch from below?
A few years ago Pop wrote to me, “Your birthday is not some event that took place years ago, but all the events when you break out of confines to discover new worlds, adventure, and life.”
Saturday night was one of those birthday events for you.
Happy birthday, Bubs.
Here's to you.
Here's to you breaking out and discovering new worlds and adventures.
Here’s to you and all the skies that will hold you.
Here’s to you and all the rides of life and moments that will take your breath away.
Here’s to you growing up.
Forever jumping and clapping and waving my pompoms for you,