On September 6, 1999 at around 4:30 in the morning we went into labor to deliver this baby. And at 12:34 a.m., in the earliest hours of the 7th, he took his first breath on this earth. He's about three days old in this picture. Have I ever told you that story? The story of Callum's birth? It's a birth story like any other: thrilling to us, less so to most others. Most significant is that he came two weeks early, and my mom once characterized his personality as being much like his arrival. He was in a hurry, he got stuck and he needed help getting un-stuck. Not much has changed in twelve years. When they put him on my chest, he gazed up at me with a look on his face like, "Oh yeah, there you are." I still see that look in his eyes sometimes.
I can barely believe it. He's suddenly a man-child. Still very much my child.
We've definitely had our rough patches this summer. We're all growing into understanding this pre-adolescence thing, I think. There are times when being with him wears on me like an uncomfortably new pair of shoes. Rubbing. Raw. And yet suddenly, his humor will spark through the mire or his need will come to the fore, and I'm reminded that he's both growing up and still so young.
He's so very much himself. He still loves dressing up. He still loves science and history. He still loves to read and watch movies over and over. He's still so well spoken and polite. He makes eye contact and shakes hands. I tell him that I never ever worry about sending him into the world, because I know he will always be respectful and thoughtful and a polite young man. He's still one of the bravest people I know. Always willing to try new things if he's developed an interest in them, and he's passionate about the things he's interested in.
He loves dogs in general and his own three quite fiercely. We joke that he got Lucy, Thea and Violet instead of siblings! Last night, just after the clock had turned to his official birthday, I awoke to a smiling Callum, right in my face. He could hardly contain his glee. "Guess who came to see me?" The dogs sleep in crates at night, and some how Lucy-the-beagle's hadn't been latched completely. Like any smart hound, she made her way right to her boy's room and waited for him to wake up. It was altogether fitting that she was the first to wish him Happy Birthday.
Every time I bemoan the loss of that little starfish hand that had to grasp my single finger or swear I'm going to put a brick on his head to keep from getting any higher than chin height on me, he'll say something or do something that displays his developing maturity, and I know that it really does keep getting better from here.