Wednesday, December 16, 2009

tattoos and handguns

Today is Baby Boy #2's eighteenth birthday. He wants to spend the day getting a tattoo and buying a handgun. He's been asking for both since he was sixteen and I've put him off as long as I legally can.

This should come as no surprise to me since he is facing the occasion like he has faced all other occasions in his life, with tenacity and determination. A character quality I quite admire but often find hard to keep up with.

From the moment he decided his exodus from my womb was at hand, he hurtled himself feet first into this world in a one hour rocket speed labor and delivery process unlike any the nurses had ever seen, scoring a ten on his AP GAR and thus embarking on his quest for adventure and achievement.

Affectionately known as the "Over Achiever" by Baby Girl #1, he has always strived for good grades and self education, often reading owner's manuals 'just for fun'. At the age of three he carefully crafted a fearless swordfish sculpture out of scrap lumber and meticulously nailed each tiny piece twelve times to our front deck. When he was five, he showed a rabbit in 4-H and came within 3 points of beating out an eighteen year old to become Grand Champion in Showmanship. When he entered school halfway through the first grade he was so far ahead of the other students that the teacher had him up front helping her teach the class. And, when the year finally arrived that he could legally hunt dear on his own, he bagged his buck by noon on opening day. Before he had his license he asked me to drive him around to all the banks to find out who had the best interest rate on CD's because he had $1000.00 he wanted to invest. He owns his own truck and skillfully parks it in one easy snow donut maneuver that causes it to come to rest in exactly the right spot.

Baby Boy #2 has been to Guyana to build a church, Guatemala to build an orphanage and Canada to catch monstrous fish, he has been to the Alamo and Dodger Field. He has climbed a volcano, had bears in his camp, fed candy to 400 orphans and witnessed poverty beyond imagination.

In his eighteen years so far on this earth he has made the most of nearly every moment, living a life that is rich in memories, accomplishments and lessons. A life that has been filled with forethought and purpose. It should therefore come as no surprise to me that as he stands at the threshold of manhood, tattoos and handguns are first on his list. After all, he's been trying to prepare me for two years!

Happy eighteenth birthday Max! You have brought much joy to all our lives and you taught me that love is not divided by two, it is multiplied.