“Well,” John Michael said yesterday, “My career as student of the month ends today.” I’ve never known January to fly before now, but it seems like he was accepting that bright orange cup and handful of restaurant certificates just yesterday. I guess I need to update my pictures in the side bar. You should probably expect lots of mush this month. Not mush as in nothing-much but mush as in, if you think I talk about Christmas magic a lot until the end of the December, just wait ’til I unleash my V-Day love on you.My first date with Michael was on Valentine’s Day, so February 14 makes me all giddy inside and February in general makes me pretty nostalgic, and 1996 was the best year EVER. I have all boys, so we don’t make our valentines from red construction paper and white doilies like we used to with my Mom when we were little. Unfortunately, they usually have light sabers or Spongebob or something. Of course, there was the year John picked the God ones. Proud mama moments were gushing all over the place the night he filled those out with commentary about the friend whose dad doesn’t like him, “So I think I’ll give that friend the one about how God is love.” That’s very nice, John, and if you’ll excuse me I have to go write in your journal how completely awesome you are.
I keep journals for all the boys. John’s is full of super emotional mama trauma while I navigate not-getting-a-puppy-for-Christmas and starting him in public school and apologizing profusely when we added another sibling as if perhaps he wasn’t enough all by himself. Drew’s is the future script for a stand-up comedian. Jake’s is one giant love letter as well as a new round of trauma as I try to figure out how to raise the baby of the family without making him one and how to celebrate the heck out of the miracle that is his existence while letting him be his own person.
I started John’s journal before he was born. I bought it while out of town with my family. My brother told me it was awesome, “I mean, he won’t appreciate it until he’s, like, 35, but still – very cool.” Now that I have three boys, I’m actually wondering if they’ll ever appreciate them. Do they really want to read about the first time they said “I love you”? The way I felt about their kindergarten teacher? The little hand motion he made as a baby that looked like he was revving a motorcycle? I’m not sure. Their journals might just be for me. A way to freeze time a little. Which, if I do right by them, isn’t something they’re going to want to do with their childhood.
Except maybe Drew. He’s so going to want to remember the time I was stressing in the grocery store about all the things I had yet to do that night, and he waved the spaghetti noodles at me and said with ultimate sensitivity, “And you gotta fix me some supper, because I’m hungry.”