Max is eight.

Jac and I pondered this fact the night before the big day, marveling at how it can be so.  Then he froze and, lowering his voice a little, proclaimed, “Duuude.  We’re old.”

Pshaw.  Whatever, clever.  You’re only as old as you feel and most days I’m running about a 26 and three quarters.  MOST days.  The rest are right around 63.  Don’t ask me how I know, I just do.

And I also know that Max is old. Not in a rickety, ancient sort of way, but a ripening, aged kind.  He has stepped out of the baby chub (and boy did he have chub! LOVED it!), passed the willowy, delicate years of seedling and has stretched into a hardy, sturdy, strong-armed BOY.

I find myself staring at this change in him and sometimes he has caught me.  His eyes narrow and he pulls up one corner of his mouth in suspicion.  “What?” he wonders and I know he senses my scutiny even if he can’t name it.

“What what what?” I respond and he rolls his eyes in good humor and shakes his head.

But he knows.  He’s fully aware of his growing and changing.  He tests his skills and muscles and sometimes my nerves looking for his limits. That is part of becoming a man, after all.

Yes, Mama Syd, I DID say that.  He is working on becoming a man.  It is good to remember this as I continue to tickle him and tease him and curl up with him for a book.  Good to have in mind the end product when he is crying in frustration over something silly or picking on his brother’s and sisters.  Because as much as he is MY boy who I enjoy in all his youth and tenderness, he is striving to become God’s man.

I need to see it now when he’s eight so it won’t sneak up on us when he’s eighteen.

* * * * *

With the chaos of our last month and being so close to Holy Week and Easter, his birthday was rather slap dash.  We wanted to celebrate with Susan and she had very few evenings free.  His birthday proper happened to fall on the day of the Chrism Mass when all of the holy oils are blessed for the year and the priests of the diocese renew their vows.  We would be attending and he was given the option of picking from another night Susan was free or celebrating with her post Mass.

“Could we invite some of the priests since they will all be here for the Chrism Mass?”



“And mom? Since the priests will be here and they ARE men, can we watch something manly?”


So it was that we were joined by Susan and the Frs. Tyler, Jim, Castor and Christensen and Grandma and Grandpa for a chivalry extravaganza.  There was a cake like a castle (though it looked more like a ruin by the time we got to it . . .), coats of arms and even a sword in a stone. (It WAS a real sword Jac has but the stone was a basket of dirty laundry with a brown blanket wrapped around it.)

At a late, manly hour we started The Sword and the Stone and my boy ate it up.  The story of a boy on the cusp and following his call?  He GOT that.  I hope I can get it, too.

Happy Birthday, Max.  We love you.

*Would you believe that we had such a fun time at the extravaganza that we didn’t get any pictures?  Ridiculous.  It will be the birthday that goes down as the unremembered one.

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