Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day 11: Happy Birthday!

Another day of not much writing (yet, anyway) - but for a good reason.

Today is Ethan's 11th birthday!

Yes, Ethan came into the world 11 years ago today, through a beautiful natural birth attended by his father, brother and grandparents. We were all there to welcome him and it was an amazing and unforgettable experience.

Except for Michael, who was about to turn 3. All he remembers was the grape juice and crackers he got to eat at the hospital. And cutting the umbilical cord.

It's just as well.

Anyway, Ethan was a sweet and gentle baby, a constantly thwarted and tormented toddler, and is now a wise and loyal friend and playmate. His kindergarten teacher was the first to describe him as an "Old Soul" - having wisdom and perspective beyond his years. We think she hit the nail on the head.

Despite the abuse he took from his older brother, he would be right there to protect him when I really reached the tipping point and was about to resort to less-than-optimal parenting techniques. He was also the one to give me a hug and say, "You're a good Mommy," when I was crying and at the end of my parenting rope.

He chooses to surround himself with only the best of the best when it comes to friends, and his closest friendships go back 6 years or more. He is an empathetic listener, a patient and considerate playmate, and a creative and funny pal. Rarely have we had to intervene in a dispute between him and a friend - because he does choose such nice kids and because he's a nice kid himself.

His dedication to martial arts is inspiring. He is hard-working and humble, and well-liked at the Dojang. It is rare to see a kid his age work with this kind of steady discipline, but he is there 5 days per week, sometimes twice, and sometimes for 2 hours or more. He volunteers to help with the lower classes. He also practices at home.

He's a good homeschool student. He doesn't always like to do schoolwork, but at least when he's avoiding it, he's doing something productive with his time. He's a voracious reader (love that!) and he has no problem spending hours on end with his little brother, building and creating and coming up with wacky scenarios for their characters. When I finally do make him come and do his schoolwork, he does his best and does not complain. (Usually.)

We are so blessed to have such a stable and responsible influence in our sometimes chaotic home.

Happy birthday to my dear, dear, middle son.

You totally rock.

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