Happy Birthday, Captain Picklepants!

Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?
I don't remember growing older,
When did they?

When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall?
Wasn't it yesterday when they were small?

Is there anything more pathetic than a 36-year-old woman, sitting in front of her computer, typing the words to the sappiest song ever written, with tears rolling down her cheeks? I feel like Holly Hunter in Raising Arizona, speaking through sobs, "I love him so much!"

As you might have guessed, today is another milestone in the life of one of my offspring. Captain Picklepants is 6 years old today. No longer does he have chubby cheeks, baby fine hair, and short little wobbly legs. (Although he's never truly had short legs--he was practically taller than me straight out of the chute.) He is my big grown-up boy, and as he bounded onto the bus today I got choked up again for the first time in months. (No! Surely not!)

I've noticed that I have a Public Mommy, suitable viewing for either of my children, smiles, laughter, discipline when called for. Occasionally a burst of uncharacteristic bathroom humor, as a well-placed moment of surprise to keep them on their toes. Then there's the Private Mommy. Who makes a beeline for the house and the privacy of my bathroom after putting my 5-year-old on the bus so he won't see me cry. Who gets choked up and has to turn away sometimes when we're talking about him, and his daily accomplishments. Who, when reading certain children's books aloud, has to stop and pretend I've lost my place so the giant lump in my throat doesn't give me away.

James Lileks wrote yesterday, "Half of parenting is hiding the truth about magic, it seems, and the other half is telling it." Another part of parenting for me is to hide from them my emotional trigger (which doesn't take much to set off, as you know, loyal reader) lest they confuse my tears with sadness. I often get overwhelmed with joyful emotions, manifesting themselves as tears, but to a 5 (oops, I mean 6...sniff) year old, that's pretty strong stuff to see your parent cry openly. It's all about maintaining a magical front, isn't it? Someday I'll let him, when he's old enough to understand there's all kinds of tears, and Mommy is a freakshow because she's mastered every single variety. Hopefully I didn't pass that particular gene on to him--it's embarassing to be verklempt over a diaper commercial. (Thanks to Donna for that--she's got a brand-new baby and is learning all about the range of emotion involved. Welcome, sweet baby Bridget!)

So. My boy is 6, and I am nothing but thankful to have him in our lives, sweet, funny, thoughtful, wily kid that he is. He is the star of my life. Still. Who invented this whole "growing up so fast" thing? We need to work on that.

Sarcasm returns in three months when I have time to post again.

Merry Christmas!


donna said...

Happy Birthday to Captain Picklepants!

Leah said...

I am so bad about the wussy crying. It's very lame, but I don't think there's a cure!