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Friday, March 16, 2012

My Little Buddy...All Grown Up!

At exactly 4:31 a.m. on March 16, 1994, my son was born and even though it was 18 years ago, it seems like yesterday. The Italian in him was very dominate in his features with his long, jet-black hair (that the nurses had to comb over to the side because it was so long), his dark complexion and he had the most beautiful blue eyes.

I had to have a c-section and my mom was with me during surgery. All I could see during the operation was her face as she stood by my side. I watched her facial expressions as they opened me up. It entertained me. She was the first to see him when they pulled him out. She had wanted me to have a girl so badly and when she frowned (for just a quick second) after he was pulled out, I knew I had a boy.

I had been contemplating names and couldn't decide between two. After they cleaned him up and let me get a good look at him, the doctor asked me what his name was. I immediately said, "Taylor".

I was a single parent until he was nearly 15, which is when I married my husband but for the first 11 years of Taylors life it was just me and him. I took him to tons of baseball and hockey games (despite the arm rests of the chairs cutting into my thighs). We went to the movies at least twice a month. We visited my parents and would spend weekends with my grandma in Eastern Washington. We popped popcorn and curled up on the couch to watch his favorite Disney cartoon movies. We went to McDonald's...a lot.

Since I didn't have anyone to watch him when he was small, he would sometimes have to come to work with me when I was working on a big project. He would help me assemble proposals and put the binders together. He would three-hole punch documents, run between printers and photocopiers to get stacks of papers, and sometimes he would curl up in a chair and watch a movie in the conference room.

One day he was in my supply closet and was being just a bit too quiet for any parent to stand. I walked in on him organizing the soda bottles that we kept for a special client. I asked him what he was doing and he said that he was just making sure they were all lined up. He then pulled out a handful of caps from his pocket and said, "Look, Mom. I won". There was a contest from this particular soda and you could win a free soda if you had a winning cap. This little bundle of joy of mine had opened EVERY SINGLE bottle to look for the winners. He put the five winning caps in his pocket, tossed the soda, put losing caps back on, and lined them all up. Little boys are so much fun [insert sarcasm with a half-smile and a wink here]. I still have the apology letter Taylor wrote to my boss (even though my boss thought it was hilarious). I carry it in my wallet.

Despite that little soda incident, Taylor was (and is) such a good kid. Always respectful, always there to give you a hug, always there with a smile on his face, always there to help. He was my little buddy.

When I decided to have weight loss surgery, I had to update my will. He was old enough then to ask what items of mine he wanted. At first, he said none. After I told him that he was already getting my car he started listing all kinds of things, which turned out to be very sentimental. In addition to my laptop, cell phone, iPad, iPod, etc., his list included the Christmas decorations (we have been decorating the house together since he was old enough to place an ornament on the tree), all my cookbooks, my rings so he could wear them around his neck, all of the family pictures, the cat, and a recording of my voice so he could play it every day [insert weepy eyes and a sniff, sniff here].

Taylor loves to play sports. He played soccer for five years and he started playing football his freshman year of high school. His soccer years were awesome. Every Saturday morning in the fall, we were up early to get to his games and we would always stop at Starbucks for a hot chocolate (they have the best) and a Chai Tea Latte. As he grew older, I grew more self-conscious about my size. The first three years of him playing football, I hid in the stands and hoped that his friends weren't snickering at him because of my size. I hid from his friends because I feared he was embarrassed by me. He always told me that he didn't care what anyone said or thought and that I shouldn't either. Even though he said it didn't bother him, it bothered me. In a way, I excluded myself from a lot of activities that involved people from his school and I feel awful that I did.

After I had lost nearly 100 pounds, Taylor gave me the courage to volunteer to be the varsity team photographer for his last year of football. It was his senior year and I wanted it to be memorable for us both so I did it. I was a nervous wreck the first night because I was no longer hiding in the stands. I was no longer hiding from his friends. I was upfront, on the field, dead smack in the middle of the action (literally). One Friday night, I was so focused on getting my shot that I didn't realize two players were running directly at me like a flippin' freight train. I took the hit well and even made Hit of the Week on the local news (my favorite part of the commentary was when he referred to me as a "young lady").

video

I like to take credit for how well-mannered Taylor is today but I do have to give credit to many others who have been a part of his life, as well as his dad. Taylor has grown into a very respectful young man with good manners, who makes straight A's, has an excellent work ethic and today, he is an adult. I couldn't be more proud of him.

Happy Birthday Buddy! I love you VERY much. Thank you for being a major motivator in my own journey and I look forward to the next chapter in your life.

6 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh what a wonderful post about your (not so) little man! I love the photos (the comb over is waaaaay too cute!) and that clip is awesome...just think you were small enough to be tackled by a football player, strong enough to take the hit (and come up smiling) and what a great NSV, you WERE ON THE FIELD in front of everyone. WOO HOO! Happy Birthday to your awesome son Taylor!

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    1. Awwww. Thanks Sheila. I am still in disbelief that he is 18. I think I am having a harder time with it then my own upcoming milestone next year...the big 4-0...gasp.

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  2. Oh my gosh!! This is the absolute sweetest thing I have ever read!! Your son sounds awesome and he is SOOO handsome! I loved the way you told the story of his life from being born to your special times alone together on the couch popping popcorn to him opening the bottle caps and now being a football player. It was so great to read!! I enjoyed it so much I had to go back and read it again. I can really relate to what you mean about it being just the two of you and enjoying those special times. As a single Mom I could relate to those times of just the two of you watching disney movies. Oh my gosh!! this was such an awesome post! happy bday to your wonderful son and his terrific mom!

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    1. Thank you Holly. I love all of your posts. You have some amazing kids yourself. Makes me wonder...without our children, where would we be?

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  3. Hi,

    Just found your blog from your comment on Holly's blog. I just wanted to say hi...and my daughter is 11 and has had size 10 feet for years, LOL.

    Your son is very handsome and your post is sweet. I can't imagine how I will feel when my sons are 18 (they are 8 and 5 now). I can completely imagine my daughters grown up, but I can't imagine my sons being men. Isn't that odd? I want to be able to pull them into my lap forever.


    Loved the video...you look tiny! Especially with all those ball players! I'm glad you weren't hurt.


    Enjoy your weekend of celebration with your son. I look forward to reading more from you.


    Chandra
    www.judyjane.com

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    1. Thank you Chandra. Those boys always made me feel smaller than I was at the time. Hard to believe they are only high schoolers. I did suffer a dislocated disc in my back but a good yoga session popped it back into place.

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