Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Birthdays and memories

This weekend Neal turned 14. Every year I make the kids gather around the cake and take a picture with the birthday child.

I got to looking at the last few years. Here he is at 11 (don't tell my kids I posted these pics - major blackmail material):

And at twelve with his buddies:
That summer (12 1/2) he got a very nice haircut that kept him a few inches shorter than me:
In six months, by his 13th birthday, the hair had started growing out,
And he was an inch or two taller than me (speaking of blackmail - ya'd think I could put on some makeup!).
He'd wake up in the morning and I'd say, "Did you grow? I think you grew. Yep, I know you grew." He did. In a few months he grew five inches and gained thirty pounds.

As you can see, our tradition never produces very good pictures. This year I believe someone LICKED my camera lens (unbeknownst to me, until I uploaded this). Oh well, it romanticizes a silly memory:
(Yes, that's cheesecake. Neal made his own cake this year. He's such a sport. His birthday always falls on a choir concert, basketball game or holiday function (this year it was a children's choir cantata). The cheesecake was really awesome.)

Anyway, it's such a pleasure to look back and see our kids grow - not just physically - but in every way. The sparks are flying less between Neal and his younger sisters, something we have been working on and praying for (just like my brother and I finally came to a truce about this age). I guess he's come to terms with his place among the girls here. He's made good friends, he is beginning to enjoy the feeling of making good grades (that one took a while), he is tenderhearted, and he still likes me to tuck him in. With the hair, he's now five or six inches taller than I am.

It doesn't get much better than that.

Happy Birthday, Neal. I love you, and I'm glad you're mine.


Mommahen said...

Oh Katherine, Your post just makes me cry. My twelve year old still likes me to tuck him in too. I was just wondering the other night if he will ever/should ever outgrow that. AND...My 12 yo doesn't always enjoy making good grades either. Not that he enjoys making bad grades, but he doesn't appreciate the result that comes from the effort. Make sense? And he is tender hearted. More so now that adolesence is coming. It is so comforting to know we are not some alien beings from another planet. Thank you for allowing us to share in your memories. I pray Neal has a lifetime of wonderful birthday memories.

Beck said...

You can see him grow up in those pictures! At 11, he's still a little kid and by 14, he's practically a man!
Happy birthday, Neal. I hope it's a great one.

Maureen said...

Thanks for sharing those wonderful moments! I love the pictures. Especially this year's. I cannot ever get a good picture of the kids, mine are always making goofy faces, or one of them is always whining because they don't want to be in it, or someone has "licked my lens" or messed with the settings on my camera. So it was great to see that my family is just as much fun as yours!! Happy Birthday Neal!


se7en said...

Oh I love this post!!! I especially love the licked lens... Just this week I had a post re-published on a crafty spot and every single photo had a great smacking fingerprint in the middle of it - ahem... In fact every photo for about a week on my sight was like this... I thought I was just focusing badly (old-age and eyesight and all that) until my husband suggested I clean my camera lens... talk about for all the world to see! Anyway Happy Birthday... my eldest is just 11 and very short, hard to imagine him outgrowing me in the next three years!

Jen @ Rolling Through Looneyville said...

Happy Birthday, Neal!

Katherine, I love the picture tradition. That's something I think I should start doing for sure! It's awesome to see how they grow :)

Susanne said...

Happy, Happy Birthday, Neil!

I love the picture taking tradition. It's wonderful to see them all growing year after year.

Mothership said...

Oh, please never stop blogging. Your words have a calming influence--a you-can-do-it feeling behind them. Thank you.

Jamie said...

Oh, how precious...I hope he had a wonderful birthday. It was fun to see those pics and see how the kids change in just a few short years.

We have a special birthday to celebrate at my house this week as well...my baby will be 16 on Sunday.

More Than Words said...

Oh my gosh, that is amazing how much he's changed in just two years. That is exactly like my oldest son who just practically 12 1/2. He looks like a little boy at 11, and now his voice has changed, he's taller than me, and looks more like 16 than 12!!!!

Makes me want to cry!!!

Oh.and BTW, I'm a mommy of five too! Ages 5-12

The Boojes said...

Great post! Neal looks a LOT like his dad!

And I agree that he totally seems to grow up in the pictures. I taught Jr. High for eight years, and I learned that boys come in BOYS ("like puppy dogs" was my actual conclusion) and leave YOUNG MEN. Those are key years for guys!

Andrea said...

I love the candle on his 13th bd cake!!!!!classic. happy bday to your treasured son!!

Jen said...

Happy Birthday Neal...I understand the craziness of holiday birthdays as mine is 12/8 and it always falls on something crazy....hope your day was nice...your cheesecake looked great.

acheiver said...

Happy belated birthday Neal! Your looking very good in that picture Katherine, I wish you and your family all the happiness that you guys deserve!