The first born.
The one who turns seven today.
The one who is a fascinating, delicate mix of baby and tween.
The one who still loves his Blankie Blue at home but wouldn't dare take it to a sleepover.
The one who asks his mom to snuggle with him often, yet has also mastered the phrase, “That is so emBAREassing.” (misspelled to highlight emphasis)
The first-grader who still won’t let anyone visit him at lunchtime, because he’s afraid he'll become emotional when it's time for them to leave. (I don't blame him- everyone knows crying at school is the worst.)
The protector and best friend of Eli. The one who became livid when the pesky neighbor boy called his little brother the most insulting name to any child over the age of two (wink). I was visiting with my sister in their kitchen at the time when Owen barreled through the door. My heart plunged into my gut, as his haste made it seem like someone had been injured while playing in the driveway.
"Mom! Mom!" he wailed, scarlet cheeks glowing with intensity, "Drew called Eli a baby! He is not a baby! He's almost five years old!" To be honest, he was far more perturbed than his brother, who, when we went outside to defend him, was calmly playing with his Monster Trucks in the sunshine.
The one who loves his little sister, Alyx, with every cell in his athletic little body and, along with Eli, can make her laugh like no one else. He's the one who created a special voice just to speak to her. He can't wait for her to wake up from her afternoon nap, so he can dive into her crib, cuddle, and entertain her. He loved her as soon as he found out about her impending arrival, and his affection was palpable from the second he met her in the hospital. His obsession has only grown since.
The one whose emerald eyes sparkle when he's being mischievous or silly.
The one who
despises extra attention prefers to blend in. When he was dressed up for Easter this year, looking dapper in his pastel, checkered shirt and boat shoes, his extended family, about to see him at church, received a cautionary text not to marvel over him. (This warning was imperative, as we had to really hold our tongues to resist complimenting the gorgeous human, whose mother wouldn't let him wear athletic shorts.) He won’t go all out for school spirit days, so he isn’t noticed. Instead, he subtly wears a t-shirt that reflects the theme, so he is still technically participating (he also wouldn't want to stick out by being the only one not partaking...it's a fine line).
The one who requested to say grace last night before dinner, praying for the intercom at school to malfunction so that the principal wouldn't be able to annouce his birthday to the whole school today.
The one with a big heart and pure conscious... who writes apology letters to his mom when he knows he's misbehaved. This self-awareness at such a young age thrills and inspires me. Having the courage to be vulnerable like this will prove to be valuable in his future relationships. It makes me so proud.
The one who plans to play for the Indiana Pacers. (You'll find me in the front row, decked out in a blue and gold sequin unitard with "Andres" spelled out in rhinestones on the back during the 2033-2034 season.)
The fan who could tell you the names and numbers of the current top athletes and recite every detail of a game the following day.
The one who is always up for a backyard tournament with his friends.
The one who plays with the big boys (dad, grandpas, uncles, and older children in the neighborhood) and fits right in. They don't let him win just because he's younger, and he doesn't seem to mind. He welcomes the challenge and watches them closely.
The one who practices running routes with his dad and brother in their basement every night, tossing the football back and forth, squealing and cutting loose (and sometimes adding in a dance party) until it's time for bed.
The fearless one who seeks thrills and adventure... who wants to ride the most dangerous looking roller coaster and jump off the highest diving board. And then he wants to tell Aunt Jenna all about it, knowing this makes her anxious.
The one who delights in clothing and style. He's interested in what his sister wears and rummages through her closet often, offering his opinion on what she should sport the next day, down to the hair bow. As for himself, he prefers tight t-shirts, long athletic shorts, tall socks, and basketball shoes.
The one who reveals a breathtaking dimple on his left cheek when he grins.
The one who makes lists. He steadily writes out the names of his family members, friends, and favorite athletes and groups them into various categories.
The one who loves to rank his favorite: sports teams, specials at school, types of sauces at Chick-fil-A... anything and everything.
The one who "whispers" in the movie theater in the same volume as his regular voice, only with more breath behind each word. I find it completely endearing and adorable.
"GEEENAH WHHY IS HE DOHOING THHHAT?"
The one who invites his friends over on Friday night without asking his parents first.
"We can come to my house. My mom will order pizza."
The one who predicted that his little sister would have "golden hair like me." (His wish just might come true- her wispy little locks are getting lighter.)
The one who’s favorite treats include root beer, sugary candy, and anything inside Noni and Blue’s freezer.
The one who loves a good celebration. It should most definitely include a lengthy set-up, decorations, and a dessert of some kind. I underestimated his passion for parties at my Fourth of July gathering last summer. I thought that waving sparklers and watching the downtown fireworks (set to music!) would suffice, but when Owen quietly inquired, "Do you have any treats?" I knew I'd failed. There were no glass bowls brimming with red, white, and blue M&Ms, no cookie cakes with USA spelled out in frosting... not even a measly cheese plate. All I could offer him was a sugar free Popsicle (to which he happily accepted with a soft thank you). I wasn't offended in the slightest- the kid just likes to go big. You better believe that next year there will be crepe paper streamers, American flag fruit skewers, and firecracker cake.
The one who waited “sooo long” to lose his first tooth and didn’t hesitate to let Blue pull it after an evening swim so he could join the rest of his friends in the club. Little did he know that his grandpa would be on Cloud 9 for weeks, feeling profoundly honored that his grandson trusted him with this rite of passage.
The one who loves Disney World. Of course many children do, but this one checks wait times on the app daily and reports them to anyone who will listen. He genuinely believes in the magic, making the experience even more enchanting for those in his company. He trusts with his whole heart that the characters he meets popped straight out of the movies he enjoys at home in his pajamas. During their vacation last month, he was mystified (and unconvinced) when his little brother suggested that there might be two Tiggers, as it seemed impossible for their springy-tailed friend to have made it to the parade they were watching when they had just met him in a completely different area. He is starstruck in their company, and I pray this never ceases. This innocence is truly heartwarming, especially coming from such a cool little dude who seems wise beyond his years in other aspects.
The one who claims not to care about or enjoy school but brings home A’s and glowing reports from his teachers. He is intelligent without really trying, because he is curious. If he doesn't understand something, he'll ask questions until he does. He's learned to add, subtract, and multiply, and he can even make change while playing Farm-Opoly, his favorite board game.
The one who loves music. He masters the lyrics to a song after listening just once, and he has a beautiful voice when he's not shout-singing to be silly. He can match pitch, and his tone is warm and pleasant. The first song I heard him sing for real was "Louisiana Saturday Night" a couple years ago. It was hilarious and impressive at the same time.
The one who knows what he wants... and what he doesn't.
The one who has an interest in collecting money and sifting through his indigo cash box, where he keeps his earnings protected. He likes to peek into Blue's wallet (with permission) to see if he has any new bills.
The one who feels confident after a fresh haircut.
The one who is thrilled to wear pads next year in football and appreciates all the components of a uniform, no matter the sport. (Hence my decision to get him a golf glove for his birthday this year!)
The one who is just plain cool, owning his natural swagger. At the same time, he doesn't deny his goofy side. The facets of his personality seem endless, like a radiant, round cut diamond.
The one who rough houses with the adults in his family and in the next minute nuzzles up to them.
The one who loves having friends and playing at their homes but is too shy to chat with adults that aren't close family members. His mom will occasionally receive texts from another parents cheering, “Owen spoke to me today!” When this one lets you in, you revel in it.
The one who loves his cousins and looks forward to having more. (He asks me often when I'll be helping out with this, and I don't mind at all.)
The one who puts his hand on the leg of the grown up next to him if he trusts and loves them. It's a gesture that twists our insides. We all relish in this act of love, even if it only lasts a few seconds.
The one who caused me to reexamine my personal goals the day he was born and continues to teach me what life is all about.
The one who first made motherhood seem miraculous, difficult, and rewarding.
The one who will always be my Sugar Bear and has graciously never asked that I stop calling him that.
The life of the party.
The little lover.
The one who is colossally adored.
*Some Owenisms provided by his mom.