Seven years and eight months ago, I signed up for babycenter.com, excited to be pregnant with my first child. Each week, I’d get an email telling me the baby was the size of some food item, ranging from a poppyseed to a cantaloupe. Though picturing my baby as a “large shrimp” was gross, I loved reading what was going on in there and as the baby grew, so did my excitement.
After Clay was born, I continued to get the emails, and they’d often appear in my inbox at the exact time when I was wondering why he was doing something new (and often weird). As a new mom, I loved the timely information. Developmental stages are less pronounced as kids get older, so in recent years I felt like I needed them less. And let’s be honest, with two kids, I had less time to read them.
Then today, on Clay’s seventh birthday, the subject line of the babycenter email caught my eye: “The lovable sevens.” I opened it to read, “Congrats! You’re entering one of the most rewarding phases of parenthood. Now your child requires less hands-on supervision and care, but he still looks up to you for guidance and support. His curiosity, excitement, and eagerness to learn make him a charming companion in the year ahead. His academic interests begin to take shape, too. Growing exposure to science, writing math and other subjects will give you a sense of where his natural interests lie.”
I could have written that myself, I thought! The past few months have been such a joy with Clay. We can take him anywhere. He can make a sandwich, take the dog out and keep his room clean. He’s sweet to me and his sister and the dog (even when he nips at his ankles). He’s goofy, but reliable. Friendly and honest.
For years I didn’t see much of me in Clay. The sweet parts of him were Chase and the naughty parts were his Uncle Mikey. He now loves to read, so he is mine after all! He’s always loved sports, and it’s so fun for him to have that in common with his dad. He asks questions (so many questions!) and genuinely loves learning. He likes math, and he’s good at it (where did that come from?). He can tell you sports stats from the 80s and more facts about marine life than I will ever know. He is still strong willed and impulsive at times, but I love that about him. Very few successful people have gotten where they are today without asking questions and taking chances.
We spent this past weekend at Disneyland for what has become our annual tradition for celebrating the kids’ birthdays. When we started this tradition three years ago, Clay went on a few rides, but nothing too fast or scary. This year he rode the biggest roller coaster four times. Three years ago we had to take a break for a nap and missed the fireworks. This year our break was in the pool, and we watched two of the nighttime shows. He’s growing up.
Seven is fun during the day – and at night he still wants to cuddle with me. I’m looking forward to more of the lovable sevens. Happy 7th birthday, Clay!!! I love you more every day!