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  1. Thirteen

    Monday, January 28, 2013

    by Samantha DeRose

    As of January 26, 2013 I am now the mother of teenagers.  I’m not sure how it happened (well, I know how it happened.  I’m speaking rhetorically).

    In light of an assignment that I just gave to my creative writing class, I’ve decided write today’s blog in honor of Ethan’s 13th Birthday in the same spirit.  The assignment was based on the poem, I Remember, by Joe Brainard.

    I remember the first thought that went through my head when I found out that I was pregnant…again.  I thought that having one child would prepare me for adulthood.  It didn’t.  The thought of having another child (you) to care for while I was still emotionally a child myself (at 31) filled me with indescribable terror and elation all at once.

    I remember when I was 8 months pregnant.  The second time.  I had a cold, I lifted Ryan, coughed, and the bun in the oven (you) kicked… all at the same time.  I bruised my womb.  Thanks, buddy.

    I remember being frightened that I wouldn’t recognize what labor pains were.  I was induced with the first pregnancy, so labor came fast and furious.  I cooked dinner on January 26, 2000 and felt crampy.  I blamed it on my awful cooking.  I called my babysitter who had 6 of her own children.  She assured me, it wasn’t my cooking.  You were ready.  Two days early.  I still think your birthday is January 28.   I mean, I know it's the 26th, but I always have to think about it for a second.

    I remember so much of the delivery that I won’t write it down…for fear that anyone who reads this and is considering having a child might decide otherwise.

    I remember bringing you home from the hospital to an ice-cold house.  There had been a blizzard, the heat broke, and the contractors were beginning construction on a job that was supposed to have been finished four months prior.  They did a lousy job and the roof ended up leaking on the addition after only 2 years.  Don’t hire these people.  Forget it.  I can only remember the guy’s first name.  Mike.  Don’t hire Mike if you see his ad in the ValuPak Coupon mailer.

    I remember the way Ryan held you so carefully and lovingly when we brought you home.  We taught him how to be careful with his new puppy, Amos.  Note to self:  Getting a puppy for a 1 year-old four months before giving birth to a second child is really not a great idea.  It's an even worse idea if your house is having construction done.

    I remember how frightened I was when we had to take you back to the hospital when you were 5 weeks old.  You ended up being fine, but you screamed for about four years solid after that.  Paybacks, I know.  You’ve really got to get out of that habit of ending up in the ER.  Stitches in the nose, asthma, pneumonia, concussions, hernias (false alarm).  Come ON, MAN!

    I remember the time you came into my room and said, “Hey Mommy!  I have a talent!”  and then you proceeded to simultaneously whistle, snap your fingers, and make fart noises with your hand under your armpit.  I laughed so hard I fell off of the bed.  Uncle Arthur used to make you do your “talent” all the time to the point that you refused to even talk about it after a while.  As a matter of fact, in the last Christmas card that he gave you he wrote, “Ethan, won’t you PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do your talent for me?” 

    I remember when I first signed you and Ryan up for t-ball.  The two of you sat in the field and filled your pockets with dirt for the entire season.  You ended up being quite a ball player.  I think I’m still cleaning the dirt out of the laundry room from the good old days.

    I remember when you decided to play the cello in 3rd grade.  When we asked you why, you replied, “Because it’s big and no one else plays it.”  Of course.  What other response was I expecting?  I didn’t expect you to be so good at it… I mean, it took practice (and earplugs on my part) but now you’re pretty amazing.  Now do me a favor and practice and learn one of the songs that I want you to play as a duet with your brother.

    I remember when you were just learning to talk and I overheard you whispering, “Goddammit.”  You actually used to say, “You’re a Goddammit!”  Anyway, I overheard you and your brother playing and you whispered, “Goddammit.”  Ryan then whispered in your ear, “Say it louder,” so you yelled, “Goddammit!” and he said, “Louder,” so you screamed, "GODDAMMIT!" and you laughed your little head off at the thought of making your brother happy.

    I remember how proud I was with each report card, each home run, each cello concert.  The phone calls about sassing the teachers or stealing the plastic coins from the play cash register in pre-school (every day)… not so proud… it was funny, though, but don’t tell your grandmother I said so.

    I remember the first time you said, “Hey, Toots.  How's about fixing me some dinner.”  I didn’t know whether to be appalled or to crack up.  I cracked up.  Oh, and regarding dinner.  I’m glad that your palate has become a little more sophisticated.  Ravioli and Ricotta (you pronounced it BINGOTTA Cheese) every night wasn’t really a well-balanced diet, but it kept you from shrieking.  Oh, and while we’re on the subject of food, there was the time that your dad was making you a milkshake when you were 3 and you yelled from your room, “Hurry up with that milkshake, YA BIG LADY!”

    And one to grow on… I remember telling you and your brother something difficult and being terrified of what your reaction would be.  You wrapped your arms around me, comforted me, told me that you loved me, and said everything was going to be OK.  And you were right.  Thanks for the love and smiles, little boy!

  2. 5 comments:

    1. Unknown said...

      Hey Toots, Nice blog! As a son who only appreciates what his parents did for him the older i get it's interesting to hear how it must be on the other side. i guess i may find out one day if and when i become a parent but if the courts haven't proved it by now it's probably not happening!

    2. She So Funny said...

      Hey there, MJ. Thanks. If the courts ever do prove anything, I'm sure you'll be a swell dad! ~S

    3. This was fun to read. I hope your son likes it as much as or more than I did. Love the dad and the milkshake story.

    4. Spleen said...

      LOVE this. Love it.

    5. Anonymous said...

      The milkshake story made me LOL.

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