In a handful of days, Garfield turns 8. When my belly bulged huge with this child 8 years ago, our country anticipated the election of a new president then, too. Although Mike and I had prayed this child wouldn’t be born on Halloween (it’s kind of a creepy day for a birthday, I always thought), alas, that’s the day he arrived.
Which didn’t come as such a surprise after all, since we had elected to vote early…My midwife had predicted my due date at November 2, and I couldn’t see getting out to vote on election day given those circumstances. So instead, all 3 of us (Woodrow was 2 and 1/2) stood in line at our public library to vote early. For three straight hours on October 28. Gravity can always be counted on to do its job: Forty-eight hours later, I began labor.
A whole bunch of hours of natural childbirth later, we welcomed Garfield into our family on October 31. And although we’d prayed against the Halloween birth date, we now had 2 holiday babies (Woodrow was born on Easter in 2006.)
In honor of this big, bold life God has placed in our family, I wanted to share some celebrations of Garfield. I’ve kept journals for the boys for years (where I found many of the stories here). I plan to give them their journals sometime in the future–an 18th birthday perhaps, or on the eve of their weddings.
Some years ago, I read a story book to my boys featuring a character described as being “wild as a panther and sweet as a honeybee’s gold tooth.” I felt this described Garfield to a T. He’s the first to seek me out in the morning and run into my arms for a hug. Throughout the day, he’ll bound up to me asking for “Huggy!” But once when I sweetly referred to him as baby angel pie, he demanded, “DON’T call me baby angel pie!”
Not long after we started home schooling, he got my attention one day while I helped his brother with school work. He asked to be held; I responded that I could hold him for a few minutes. He answered, “Hold me for the rest of my life!” Around that same time, I picked him up one day, and he declared, “You are mine! Did you know that? I bought you! You are mine–for, for, forEVER!” while squeezing my face. Not long after that, he told me girls stink.
He frequently prefaces statements with, “When I’m an adult and *I’M* president…” and then tells me how he’s going to outlaw something that’s pink or girly. Or how he will turn a lake in the middle of downtown Orlando into a water sports complex. Once I helped him get dressed for church, and he somberly told me, “When I grow up, I’m going to eat a lot of corn dogs.” Eating snack at church not long ago, he spied a food he wanted but had forgotten its name. He improvised and asked if he could have one of those “doughnut hush puppies.” He regularly uses words such as “aimlessly” and “infested” but forgot “doughnut holes.”
I’m unsure about what he wants to be when he grows up. Usually it’s a police officer, and he occasionally avows that he is NOT going to college. I tell him he doesn’t have to. But once he did tell his brother he would be the boss of an off-roading club when he grew up. At least he wins points for originality.
When I confessed one morning that I had a sore throat, he mentioned, “I can make you a get-well card.” And biking home from church one Sunday–wearing flats, not the best cycling shoes–I scraped my foot along a bench at the school where our church met. When we got home, Garfield fetched me a Band-Aid, a glass of water, and then said, “If I can get you anything, just let me know.”
Once he put his finger in a little pencil sharpener–and turned it. It cut him severely, and he seemed miffed that I hadn’t warned him about it. In agony, Garfield asked if the paleontologist could help it feel better. During lunch one day, he opened that pencil sharpener, looked quizzically inside, and then dumped the shavings in his brother’s spaghetti.
Before bedtime one evening, Garfield crumpled his big brother’s paper airplane. (I never imagined my house would be so full of paper airplanes). Woodrow was understandably hurt. I took Garfield aside to ask him why he did it; he might have been 4. He raised his eyebrows, shrugged his shoulders, then responded, “Satan?”
Like their mama, my boys love the outdoors, The first time we collected tadpoles, he leaned over them and said sweetly, “I love you, tadpoles!” The boys were playing at the pond behind our old house one morning, gathering rocks to put in a dump truck, when Garfield declared, “I LOVE rocks! Shiny rocks…” He paused, thinking of other rock categories. “Unshiny rocks…”
My good Father continually blesses me (and makes me laugh) because of this child. Even when he challenges me, such as the time at our Cub Scout meeting when–in answer to my question about why it’s smart to eat fruits and veggies–he said, “Because they’re good for your eyes and your body and your butt.” And the time he told me I had set a bad example by slamming the microwave door when I was angry.
Now he likes to ply me with questions: If I had to get a Ford truck, which one? If I bought a Jeep, which one would I want? If I decorated a boat, how would it look? When was the last time I vomited and had vomit drip out of my nose?
He’s also full of funny questions: Which is the most negative month of the year? NO-vember! Which is the yummiest Scout? A Brownie! Which is the stinkiest ocean? The Poop-cific! (He made all that up, by the way.)
Last year, he jumped up on the bed on my birthday and cried, “Cuddle! Cuddle with the birthday girl!” I’m hoping that this boy of mine lets me cuddle him on his birthday for a few more years. I’m hoping he lets me hold him a little longer, until he’s just too big for it. Then I’ll be content to hold these memories in my heart–for, for, forEVER!