IntrepidWoman's Journey

Number One Son

Posted on: June 15, 2012

My Number One Son turned 42 this week. I had to work that day, but felt that anyone with a ‘child’ that age should be home in bed, resting. I am too old to still be working full time!

Jim is easy to look up to and I admire the man he has become. He is a voracious reader and knows something about almost everything. He is very hardworking, but balances his job with his home life better than a lot of people in his generation.

On his birthday, I always think about him as a child. I go back to the day I was at work at the bank on the university campus, married for over a year, suspecting I was pregnant and not sure how I felt about that. It was one of those “oops” things. Anyway, it was before the time of home pregnancy tests, so when the doctor’s office called me at work to confirm that I was indeed expecting, I still remember saying, “Thank you for calling.” Then I walked out of the bank, down the hall to the washroom in the student union building, (we did not have our own), sat in a cubicle, grinned at the closed door for a few minutes, and then went into panic mode. I was 21, playing at being an adult, and was soon to be responsible for another human being – a helpless, wiggly, poopy and non-talking little creature who I could royally screw up if I royally screwed up!

When Jim was born, I brought him home to the house I had grown up in and I learned to take care of a baby. The years flew by and he was such a delightful little boy, so smart and succinct when he began talking and so eager to learn about everything.

As a teenager, he always had me in stitches – what a sense of humour! He also had a serious and thoughtful side and when he was president of the school council, he came up with the idea for his grad class to give back by hosting a supper for seniors at Christmas time, a tradition that is still going strong today at the high school.

He used to clean our house every Friday after school so that I would say yes when he asked to borrow the car for the evening. When he left for university, I could not understand why the house was always untidy, when there were fewer people living in it.

Years later, he loved to tell me all the things he did while living at home that I had no idea about at the time, (thank goodness!) I would try to stop him by saying I did not need to know after the fact, but there was joy in the telling for him.

He has had a wonderfully interesting life, living in China for a few years on two occasions and always working at figuring things out about life and stuff. When he finally made me a grandmother, I felt he was really doing his most important life work. He is an awesome dad and delights in his beautiful wee son and daughter, stating that they are a prince and a princess and he is just there to serve. We laugh, but I think he really means it.

He has been the teacher and I the student for many years now, which brings me to the fact that he is my only son who I did not teach in the small-town high school when I worked there. He missed me by a year and was glad of it!

When other young boys were out playing ball and riding bikes, Jim was  spending long hours with his Apple 2 E computer. Now he rides his bike, taking great, long road trips. He was not into team sports in school, but decided, with a push from his math teacher who was also the coach, to play basketball in grade nine. Coach Bruce would come to my classroom to report what a great player Jim was. We were both so proud.

When he was in university in Edmonton, another teacher from our high school came into my classroom one day, waving a news article from the paper and exclaiming how proud he was of ‘our boy’! I had not heard about it until that moment, but it seems that Jim was inspired to strike against the cafeteria at the university about the quality of food or supplier or ? My memory fails me, but I do remember how proud his social studies teacher was as he presented me with the article and the photo of Jim, staged to look as if he was eating out of the cafeteria garbage can.

Jim is my Number One Son because he came first. He had to suffer through the mistakes made by a novice mother.  Your oldest child is your prototype. It gets easier with each one that comes along. By the third time, another ‘oops’ arrived in son Dean and I think I actually let him raise himself! Middle son David loves the fact that he was my only ‘planned’ child.

For my oldest son, I have miles of praise and the deepest admiration, and I love his wonderful talent as a master story-teller. He expertly plays to the audience when family members and friends get together. He keeps us laughing and can also make me shake my head in awe as I listen to his serious thoughts on other days. After a visit where the kids have gone to bed and Jim quietly shares some insights with me, I drive home asking myself how I got to be such a lucky mother.

My three sons and I grew up together, and they did such a great job of raising each other! I hope Jim is not even half way through his life and I wish him at least forty two more birthdays. If a mother’s love could guarantee an extra long life, he would surely live to be at least two hundred. Happy birthday Jimmy!


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