I haven't written much about my second oldest child. There are reasons for this, not the least of which is that unsavory, tension-filled moment when I threw him out of my house, into the cold, cruel night at 9 p.m. on Dec. 25, 2005.
Judge me not, however, until you have walked a mile in my flipflops. It was both my finest and worst parenting moment.
Finest, because tough love, while difficult to administer, is frequently the best answer to a bad situation.
Worst, because I threw my son out of my house and changed the locks. I cried for days, fretted for weeks, worried for months. But I held firm.
Almost two years later, he is much better for it. He has been welcomed back into the fold (though not to live in my house), he is respectful, he is loving, he is funny, he is self-sufficient. Many things that he was not before that fateful night.
But this post is not really about that dark period. This is about the day he was born, which was exactly 24 years ago today.
As befits a Drama King such as himself, I labored with him for more than 24 hours. Twenty-six, to be precise, and after all that, I had a C-section anyway.
As I recall, when I pushed, I had several people's hands all in places where their hands ought not to have been, attempting to pull open the edges of my cervix to permit the largest head EVER to enter the world.
True to form, he was NOT comin' out the way he got in.
He weighed 9 pounds, 2 1/2 ounces. A monster for this little 5-foot-2 mama. His head was giNORmous. I don't remember the dimensions, but suffice it to say I had to return all the cute little 3-month-sized t-shirts and outfits, and make sure that everything had side snaps at the shoulder. Wouldn't go over his head, otherwise.
As a child, he had a head full of curls and a mouth full of big words and a brain full of fancy and imagination. He had food allergies and asthma. He never napped as a baby. He stayed up late and slept late, which is nice, unless you have to get him to school. Anything before 8:30 a.m. required an act of God and at least two people to accomplish.
He was my punishment for the infinitely easier child no. 1, who essentially slept away the first year of his life but who developed into demon child as soon as the Drama King was born. Sibling rivalry, anyone?
He was also the one who would snuggle.
The one who I comforted through countless emergency room visits for anaphylaxis and asthma.
The one whose unending brilliance blew me away.
The one who read "Les Miserables" (not the Cliff Notes version, either) FOR FUN.
The one who refused to do homework but got A's on tests anyway.
The one who acts and sings like a dream and would make the best ever Charlie Brown in a stage production of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown."
The one who suffered the most during "those years."
The one who called 911 and ended them.
The one who trusted me with his secret at 16.
The one I thought I was going to lose forever when he was 17.
The one who needed me most.
The one who loved me best.
It has been a rough road we have traveled together. We still tread carefully with each other, but it is a different -- and better -- Drama King who celebrates his birthday today.
Today's Drama King is the one who can't think of a better way to spend his birthday than to have dinner with his siblings and stepfather.
And his mother.
The one who always loves him.