Twenty seven years ago today, our first born arrived. It was Easter Sunday, 1987, 10:56 pm, 8 lbs, 8 oz, 20 inches long. And because he was my first, I remember like it was yesterday. But what I remember just as clearly was when we broke the news to our families that he was on the way.
We had been married just six weeks. Both my parents were still living and family gatherings were frequent. The good ole' days about which Carly Simon sings, no doubt. We all gathered in a big circle at my sister's house, our plates in our laps. Captain Fun found a pause somewhere among all the conversations, and said we had an announcement. Then he said it, which brought gasps and applause from around the room. But what I most recall was Mom Dot throwing her arms up in the air like she had just won Heavyweight Champion of the World.
Not long after he arrived, she started calling him The Perfect One. And even though nine more came after him, she calls him that to this day.
I am the youngest of eight, and my dad named a racehorse after me when I was in fifth grade: Charming Margie. I think my siblings got it--I am the baby. Not the same as the favorite, but I held a special place in my dad's heart.
It's sort of the same thing with Mom Dot's first born grandchild. Her husband had passed away the year before the Captain and I started dating. I never even got to meet him. Needless to say, she bemoans the fact that he missed out on all these grand kids. And they missed out on him. Tiger, as we call him, came along at a time when the view was dim from where she sat. The first grandchild after such a dark time of grief, he was and is and always will be The Perfect One.
In Sims birthday tradition, here's what I like about my first born. That he survived my parenting, back when I thought I knew what I was doing, but I really didn't. (We grew up together, I often remind him.) I like the way he stays in touch with his siblings, even though Hope is 25 years younger. Why, just this week he suggested that sometime in the future we pick a central point and rent a house for a week. I love that about him. The list goes on: smart, in tune, steady, intentional. An all around great role model for his nine younger siblings. And just like he lit up Mom Dot's life when he appeared on the scene all those years ago, he still brings happiness, fun, and adventure where ever he goes.
I can hardly believe that I only see my oldest son once a year-maybe. For some reason when he was growing up, I never saw that coming. That's the thing about being a mom, isn't it? You go from caretaker to coach to counselor to comrade. Yet while it's all unfolding you don't see it until it is upon you and you've worked yourself out of a job.
And while I don't see him as The Perfect One like his grandmother does, (that would never do), I don't tell him often enough how absolutely perfect he is at being the oldest.
Happy birthday, Tiger. Your family loves you.
Tiger and his wonderful wife, Becky (top left) with all the sibs