Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Nine Year Old Dude

Nine years ago today, Grant Andrew Stilp stole our hearts and made our dreams of becoming parents a reality. Although I'm certain I would have loved a first-born daughter, there is something so profound and moving about having a first-born son. When I was pregnant, I secretly longed for a daughter and was afraid I'd be disappointed if we had a son. This fear was so ridiculous that I never acknowledged it out loud, not even to Curt. Less than five hours after my water broke, our doctor announced, "It's a boy" and promptly got hosed down as only a naked baby boy can do. When the nurse placed him in my arms and I held my son for the first time, the sobs started and didn't subside for what seemed like forever. I was so overwhelmed with love for this five-pound-ten-ounce, scrawny, fuzzy, and wrinkly little man. How could I ever have thought I'd be disappointed with a son?

The past nine years have been filled with lots of joy, laughter, and tears. Poor Grant is the Parenting Guinea Pig in our house, but I guess that comes with the territory of being the first-born. His non-stop questions and ridiculously large vocabulary have always been a constant source of amusement and laughter. I'm currently madly in love with his confident sense of style. He knows why and what he likes and I find it so endearing. His honesty is a trait I want to emulate. For the most part he's a stellar big brother, protecting his sisters and successfully tolerating a world full of princesses, Barbies, babies, and emotions on hyper-drive.

Last night I wrote him a love letter and taped it on his bathroom mirror for him to find this morning. As I wrote in my half-cursive, half-non-cursive handwriting, I marveled that I have a child old enough to decipher my handwriting and to appreciate the specific things I was writing about why I love him. Wasn't he just born yesterday?

At precisely 7:00 a.m., Grant crept through our bedroom door and tapped me on the shoulder. As I woke up, he said in a super excited voice, "Mom! It's my birthday. And I found my note on my mirror. Thanks so much. Can we open presents and make pancakes now?" While Curt fried bacon, I cooked pancakes, and Grant opened presents. He was thrilled with his new bike (now he won't look like a big guy on a little bike) with the trick pegs and spinning handlebars, skateboard and helmet. He'd better keep a close eye on the bike though. If it ever comes up missing, the first suspected thief will be his father.

Having company for the past few days threw my schedule out of wack and Grant's birthday completely snuck up on me. I was at Fred Meyer last night at 10 p.m. finishing off the birthday list (and still forgot donut holes and strawberries) and I forgot to email his teacher to set up a time to bring in treats to share with his class. So after he got on the bus, Paige and I ran a few errands. At the Dollar Tree, Paige picked out a birthday balloon (one of the "A-nited States because Grant likes the A-nited States"), Jelly Belly candies, a cookies and cream candy bar, and a plastic dinosaur to give to Grant, while I picked out a "World's Greatest Son" button for him to wear at school. We moved over to Safeway and scored the missing donut holes and strawberries. Our last stop was Subway. It's anything-you-want-day on your birthday and Grant wanted the "Grant Special" sandwich from Subway. Armed with my 3x5 card with instructions, I ordered his special lunch and then we headed to school to make our deliveries.

As soon as we opened the door to his classroom every 9-year-old girl collectively sighed and then oohed, "Ohhhhhh Grant.... Is that your little sister? She's soooooooooooo cute." Paige loved being in the spotlight and I'm pretty sure Grant didn't mind all the extra attention from the girls either. I showed him the "World's Greatest Son" pin and shockingly, he agreed to wear it. He even seemed really pleased. He got to be in charge of calling back groups to help themselves to the treats and I laughed out loud as he called all his dude friends first. The poor girls who were showering him with affection because his sister was so cute were left waiting and waiting and waiting. The class sang "Happy Birthday" and he obligingly acted embarrassed. But my favorite part was when his teacher cranked some dance music and the whole class started busting a move. Grant has great rhythm and I couldn't believe that he just let loose and broke out some of his best moves (normally reserved for the privacy of our living room) for his classmates. I'm still smiling just thinking about it....

He chose to eat dinner at home, but selected the menu (bratwurst and cheddar hot dogs on the grill, pickles, fruit salad and more BBQ chips) and then we went to Dairy Queen for dessert. On the way to Dairy Queen we stopped by his buddies' houses and dropped off their official party invitations for his birthday party on Friday.

As I've been writing this, Grant has been jabbering non-stop to Curt during their nightly bedtime rehash-the-day session. I'm so grateful for my sweet son, Grant Andrew, and for nine years of being his mom. Happy birthday Sweet Boy. I love you.

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