Simeon turned ten today, this baby of ours who never really was a baby. He was born full term, barrel-chested and blue, wriggling all his baby muscles with surprising force and determination. It was one decade ago, but I remember every day of his first few months of life. He wasn't a cuddly baby or a very gentle or quiet nurser, but he was handsome and strong. He had dark, swirling hair and a beautiful complexion. I would stare at him for hours. My mother called him "The Brick." I called him my "Meaty Sweetie."
As our family grew, Simeon always considered himself a kind of third parent in the home. To his mind, it's been me, my husband and himself raising these four boys. He's enforced our rules and taken exception to many of them, being a kind of third parent and all that. To his credit, he's taken on many of the responsibilities of parenthood as well, watching over little ones, comforting them, praising them, often putting their needs before his. He's been a good brother.
Now, at ten, he mows the lawn for us, babysits (in another room, while I'm still at home), manages most parts of his own laundry and Alex's, makes lunch for everybody some days and breakfast on others, and helps with the cleaning when I ask. In return, we pay him a small amount of money and try to treat him a little more like the third adult in the home he's thought he was all along.
Today, our favorite lifeguard at the YMCA offered to babysit for us. She wrote her name and number on a slip of paper and handed it to me as we were leaving.
"What's that?" Simeon asked.
"She wants to babysit for us, so she gave me her number."
"That's great," Simeon said with enthusiasm and I was surprised. We don't often use a babysitter and I didn't know what he'd think. Then he went on, "So, she can come and babysit for us and we can get out and do something on our own [emphasis mine]!"
We just might have to do that.
But for tonight, I picked up a bag of lemons and he and I are making fresh lemonade after the other boys are in bed. Then, for the first time this summer, we'll cozy up on our screened-in lighted porch and read and read and read. He has his books-- The Deep, Ramona the Brave, and Davy Crockett. And I have mine--I Am One of You Forever, Nourishing Traditions, and a Cooking Light magazine I just picked up. It's great having a young man in the house.
Happy Birthday, Simeon, we love you!