Friday, March 2, 2012

Blake Turns 15!

Blake gets ready to blow out 15 candles on the fabulous Peanut Butter Buckeye Brownie cupcakes I made.
It sounds so cliche, but it's so true. Our kids just grow up so fast. The little newborn who had that Johnson's baby bath smell, made those adorable little smiles in his sleep, and kept vampire hours in his first months, morphs into the chunky-legged infant. Proudly scurrying upright, pulling himself up with the help of the coffee table, curiously tugging at my earrings, my necklace. Fascinated by the car keys. Throwing a ball and eyes lighting up when it's tossed back. Transfixed by the Teletubbies and Barney, giggling uncontrollably when Dad tosses him in the air in the pool. Soon he's in preschool and a new sibling arrives. Adjustment.

The first day of kindergarten sneaks up on us. I swallow hard as I watch my little boy with his spiked-up bangs and Scooby Doo backpack slowly let go of my hand and quietly enter the world of public education.

"Give a wave good-bye," the seasoned kindergarten teacher tells her students as they line up before class. But really, she's not talking to the kids, she's talking to us, the parents, as she gives us a confident yet comforting smile as she's done year after year. A smile that assures us that we'll all be ok.

The grade school years shoot at us like rapid fire. He is a sweet, smart, confident boy -- traits that endure to this day. Soccer enters his young life and a passion is born.

Two more siblings arrive and his role as big brother is solidified. Basketball, baseball ... but soccer still reigns supreme. A natural student, a sweet and caring brother.

A severe case of bookworm-itis hits: Harry Potter books are devoured in just a few days. Trips to the library and bookstore brings mega excitement ... until it seems you've read all the fantasy/adventure series in the store.

He continues to shine as a student and soccer player, making the big step to club soccer. But then at the end of your first year, at the end of fourth grade, the family moves out of state.

He easily finds his niche in the Valley of the Sun and quickly finds himself at home on the dried, yellowed soccer fields of Arizona.

Soccer becomes year-round, injuries and burn-out flare up. A short diversion into off-road biking develops. But the passion returns. A trip to Serbia confirms both his love for soccer and for food.

High school nears. Adjustments on and off the field are made. Injuries  and homework become more frequent. A pulled hamstring here, a hurt groin there. The physical therapist's phone number becomes memorized. But his team wins the State Cup and hope feels renewed ... at least from my view on the sidelines. A summer traveling to Boise for regionals. A fun time had by all. And then, a surprise. At least to me and his Dad. He decides to give up soccer and play freshman football.

He loves football and it loves him. A few months after the season ends, he surprises us again. He wants to return to soccer. And I'm proud that he tried something new in football but equally impressed that he had the maturity and courage to go back to a sport and team that was still such an integral part of him.

His 7-year-old brother idolizes him. He mimics his big brother by busting out pushups, listens to sanitized versions of his favorite songs, and even started eating eggs because his biggest brother does so frequently.

My teen now spends his free time going to the gym and hanging out with friends ... and eating.  He comes home from school and has that six-egg scramble with sausage and spinach as a "snack." My little boy has morphed into a strong, fit (he'd prefer I characterize it as muscular) young man, now taller than me. So many changes in such a brief time. Although I recognize the re-emergence of the fascination with the car keys is gradually returning.

Happy 15th Birthday, Blake! I love you!


Blake's 1st Birthday.

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