now he's thirteen {still + life}


Callum turns 13 today.

Sit with that a moment. I'm having to. I'm the mother of a teenager. We're parents of a teenager.

But this is not about me. Not at all. I thought about telling you a bit about his birth, which to us of course, is a remarkable story, and I thought about drawing you through the past 13 years of our life with this kid. In the end, I settled on the now. The here and now and the who of Callum. He's always been my funny little bug. He loves dressing up. He always has. He wears a tie to school every day now that he's in middle school, and we joke that he dresses better than his dad. He loves playing video games, like any 13 year old: Madden, MLB, something I don't understand called Minecraft (???). He loves all of these, but interestingly, not too much. I'm amazed at his ability to self regulate. Oh sure, we have to pry his fingers from the controller from time to time, but more often than not, I hear the thud of his feet hitting the floor and the squeal of the storm door as he pushes his way outside. He loves the ocean. He and I could go there every day; Neel, not as much. He loves travel, and we're getting chastized quite regularly for the fact that we haven't been on a big trip in awhile. We're working on it. He loves dogs and adores his own pups. Last year, on his birthday Lucy (the beagle) managed to escape her crate, and she was the first to wake him up. We made sure the dogs got him up this morning!

A native San Diegan, he loves California. Of course he's a Chargers fan. He's a Phillies fan too. He'll watch Project Runway and House Hunters with me, but he loves King of the Hill and Storage Wars.

He loves history and science and is quite good at languages. We're curious to see how each of his academic interests will shake out. Patton? Yes. Spanish? Yes. Cell biology? Yes, as well. There's baseball too. A new love and one he's (as you well know) passionate about. And now there's cross country. And friends. Good friends here on the block and new ones over the past months. We love all of his friends, and we're glad to see him branching out. He's unfailingly polite. As an only child, he's used to being around adults and he handles himself well with them. We were recently in a group of people that included someone who is considering running for office in the future. We saw Callum talking with this person for quite some time, and when we asked they talked about (and if this person was going to run) he said, "I just told them to follow their heart."

He's a worrier. We're working on that. He's a homebody too. He likes the idea of sleepovers better than the actuality of them, but he doesn't like being left out. We have a lot to navigate in the years ahead, and I'm working hard to be a better mother to him.

He loves buffalo wings and hot sauce (he'd put it on everything if he could). He loves all spicy food, really. And, well, just food. He's never been a picky eater, and teenage-hood has made him simply an eater! His feet are bigger than mine and he's nearly taller than me too. At moments, this realization is bittersweet as I wonder where did my baby go, but you know? That baby is still in there. But as I keep telling him, it's a delight to watch him grow up.

He's on the cusp of something great.

We put the first lines from this song on his birth announcement. Thirteen years ago. It still brings me to tears. You gotta love Van Morrison.

I saw you standing with the wind and the rain in your face

And you were thinking 'bout the wisdom of the leaves and their grace

When the leaves come falling down

In September when the leaves, come falling down

In September, when the leaves come falling down