Monday, March 17, 2014

Dono turns 9

There is a little boy at church who reminds me of Donovan when he was younger. Sometimes I just stare at this kid, to see how he moves, the curve of his cheek, the mischievous sparkle in his eye. I listen for his deep, husky voice laced with the speech impediment common in toddlers and I find myself both giggling and choking back tears. I don't know this little boy very well, but I love him. And it isn't surprising to me in the least to hear that when Donovan goes over to their house for his piano lesson, this little boy climbs up next to him and gazes adoringly at Dono. They are two peas in a pod, those two, though my pea is getting older.

I tell myself that, just as I look at this little boy and long to be able to visit 2-year-old Donovan for just a day, there will come a time I will want to visit my 9-year-old Donovan, and I should enjoy what I have now. And I do. I love that this boy takes his birthday very seriously. This year Joel and I activated (that makes it sound pretty futuristic) about 50 glow sticks to leave a birthday message on his floor. As I began his birthday breakfast plans (pancakes and bacon, please), Dono stumbled, pajama-ed and bedheaded, into the kitchen to wrap his arms around my waist and murmur, "Thank you for my birthday surprise, Mommy. I love it!"
I love that he still calls me Mommy. I wonder when he will transition to just mom, so I capture each one in my mind, each one a little gift that tells me he is still young and mine.

At school, because of allergies, our options for birthday treats are limited. So Donovan opted to bring mustaches for his class. It was hilarious. The teacher even took a picture for me. Then, the next day for his party, Donovan and four of his friends mustached-up and went to the movies. I've got to say that taking five boys (plus my girls) to the movies is actually a pretty great birthday party. Joel drove the girls and I drove the boys. Immediately, the topic was farting. I didn't say a word, figuring they were boys and this was Donovan's party, so I would just ignore it. About five minutes in, though, Donovan said, "Ok guys, maybe we should tone down the farting talk. It might get too stinky in here for my mom." I loved him so much in that moment, for understanding a simple principle of respect and recognizing how to have fun without getting out-of-control.

The movie was fun and as we drove home, I wondered what kinds of games we should play when we get home. Pictionary? Charades? Oh wait, these are boys. Let's just hand them stomp rockets. And after a while, point to the trampoline. Boys are awesome this way.

Donovan was quite specific about what kind of cake he wanted. "I want a chocolate marshmallow cake, so can you do four layers of cake and three layers of marshmallow and then cover the whole thing in chocolate frosting?" Why yes, yes I can. And the family pronounced the toasted marshmallow frosting the best ever. I have to say it was delicious, if you're into sugary things.

My boy is getting older. I can hardly believe this tall, athletic, intelligent and curious 9 year old was once small and husky. He's still mischievous and sometimes frustrating, but it balances out the sweet and affectionate to make for an all-around awesome kid. The night before his birthday, I kissed him goodnight and whispered in his ear, "Having babies hurts more than anything, but you were totally worth it. I feel lucky to have you every day, even when you make annoying sounds."

He grinned with his eyes closed and snuggled down in his bed, then tipped his head back and opened his mouth, emitting his best goat impression.