Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Happy Birthday, Merrick


Merrick, today you are five! Your mother never thought she'd have children. There's evidence of this somewhere, a wedding video replete with martinis and cigarettes, in which she swears off children like fleas. Three months later? Pregnant. Once she had one, she knew she needed a bundle of children, a pack. Not that she necessarily enjoyed children so much. Just that your mother recognized her own intensity demanded distribution among many rather than laser-like focus on one.

Because of -- well, big busy beautiful Life with complications -- your conception was delayed until your mother saw the big 4-0 bearing down, fast. Later, your parents decided, for the first time, not to find out which gender was brewing.

But one night, your mother got up to use the bathroom for the 200 millionth time. She looked out the window. Brittle snow and a bright moon, a black northern night. And as she turned from the window, she knew you were a boy. She felt you.

When you finally arrived (9 lbs and 11 ounces of you!), we simply threw you into the mix. One of the pack. So there was a lot of this:



You proved to be durable, of flexible purpose.


Usurped from her place as the youngest, your sister observed: "Merrick's head looks like a big chunk of meatloaf. He's a meatloaf head."

Mama asked: "How do you feel about your baby brother?"

Scarlett: "I half love him and half hate him."

Mama: "Have you ever seen meatloaf?"

Scarlett: "I have now. Meatloaf Head."

Meatloaf Head, your big sister's Love Half soon swelled to a Love Whole.




But the name stuck. Meatloaf Head or MLH for short. You also received no small amount of affection from your big brother.



Those big kids touched the moon! Later bedtimes! Books they could read without Mama! The freedom to stand up and grab a glass! They could perform miracles like making Barney appear on the television, cut shapes from paper, and make Grandma's voice come through the telephone. Their powers were magical, enviable.

So there was also a whole lot of this:




You are all about catching up. Keeping up. But sweetie, you stand alone in your love for our puppies. Here you are with the regal Thurston. We miss you, gentle friend.


Your brothers and sisters came without the Zap Tingle Itch Ow! Skin with which you were born. Shorts? One pair will do, those with the perfectly worn elastic and tag long cut off. Shirt sleeves must fall 4 exacting inches below the shoulder with a neckline soft and pristine. You now need 20 minutes to put on your shoes because of that dreadful sock seam. The sock seam is Satan. And he hurts your skin.

You loved motorcycles early, and still do. You got your first ride on a real motorcycle when you were three (ssshhh! don't tell Child Protection!). It was just 5 miles an hour and one block long, but still--you had arrived.



Even though you scream "Don't say that!" when I do: you are my sweet baby. You know that book, Love You Forever? Every night I sneak into your room and stare. How lucky did I get ?

Last night I tried to read that book out loud to you and Scarlett. But I couldn't. I can never read that book without utter collapse. Last night was no exception, choking up -- sadness, love, happiness, the rub and roar of all this that is you, me, the great big family. When I couldn't continue, Scarlett took the book and said, "Let me read for you, Mama."

Then you asked me why I started crying even harder.

Merrick, you love weaponry, dogs and cats, stuffed animals and spicy rice and tofu. You are always good for a cuddle. You are a good friend and are lucky enough to share your brother's wicked sense of humor. If your Ninja Turtle Sword is on the third floor and you're in the basement, your legs will hurt and tummy churn and certainly, your Mama will retrieve it? You have a way with balls and sport, batting like a 10 year-old, making basket after basket and catching Daddy's hard balls.

You might be the one to support us.

Till then, we'll do the supporting and more. With joy. Happy birthday, babe.

20 comments:

Cheri said...

Well, golly gee, if that isn't the sweetest thing I've ever read. I'm all choked up over here. Also, I have Never Once been able to read Love You Forever without crying. Thanks for putting a sparkle in my afternoon.

hippyhappyhay said...

Oh my, if this post doesn't take the cake. How beautiful. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MERRICK!! (Can you hear me from NZ?)

Those big kids touched the moon! Later bedtimes! Books they could read without Mama! The freedom to stand up and grab a glass! They could perform miracles like making Barney appear on the television, cut shapes from paper, and make Grandma's voice come through the telephone. Their powers were magical, enviable.

This is really apt for us right now. Little Miss Independent is struggling to keep up. Thanks for wording it so wonderfully :)xxxx

Lisa Milton said...

I can't ever get through the book, not once, without tearing up. I was once asked to read it at the bookstore, during storytime.

Um, no thank you. No ugly crying and traumatizing unexpecting children on a Saturday. Sunday, maybe.

Happy birthday, Merrick. You have such beautiful eyes.

Type (little) a said...

Beautiful. I need a pack of children for the same reason.

Happy Birthday Merrick. :-)

Mary Alice said...

So sweet. Happy Birthday to a great kid who doesn't look like a meatloaf head to me at all.

Heather said...

Oh sure, now I'm all teared up too. Happy Birthday to your big little one.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

(tear rolling down cheek) What a lovely post.

And the sock thing--I totally get it. Merrick and I could probably have a long conversation about how some people don't realize that there is a left and right sock (that is established the first time you try on the socks). When he grows up he can move to warmer climes and just never wear socks--it works for me!

Mrs. G. said...

Happy, happy birthday to your beautiful boy! Meatloaf head? Only a sister!

Tootsie Farklepants said...

Happy Birthday Meatloaf Head!!!

Betty C. said...

I usually don't read kid posts (nor dog posts for that matter, although I do have kids and am more receptive to them than dogs, LOL!) but this was really touching. What a sweet tribute to you children and the photos and text fit together so very well.

Laura said...

Hey there, MM. Read this, on Karen's blog:

http://journeytoauthenticity.typepad.com/journey_to_authenticity/2008/02/hold-him-tight.html

It will have you sobbing and clutching your babies. :)

I couldn't read Love You Forever to Meredith -- she said it "creeps me out". "She drove to his house with a ladder??"

Many Happy Returns of the Day to Merrick!

Laura said...

Oh! (Smacking my forehead) You've already been there and left a comment, I see. :)

Anonymous said...

Have a wonderful birthday!

Melissa said...

Congratulations on such a happy, healthy son! Many happy returns of his special day!

She She said...

Oh, just beautiful. I'm 3 years behind you with the same mix (boy-girl-boy). It's a big happy pig pile.

Rima said...

Merrick! What an awesome name! All of your children are lovely, as was this post.

Jenny Dagle said...

That was beautiful. I did a birthday post yesterday too, but it was far less eloquent.

The book I can never get through is "On the Day You Were Born".

katydidnot said...

the photo of that boy and that dog? oof. so cute.

Kimberly said...

Happy birthday MLH! Those pictures are the best.

I cannot read Love You Forever without blubbering either.

Karen said...

This post definitely made me weepy...