Jack is turning 21 today. He's all grown up I guess, but I remember it wasn't that long ago when he was a little boy.
He would play quietly for hours, cutting strips of blue paper and taping them to the hardwood floors to make highways for his tiny vehicles. His roads were curvy and sometimes journeyed through shoebox tunnels on the way to faraway destinations like the kitchen where the cars would collect in parking lots under the table until it was time for dinner.
I tried to keep my kids away from violent toys and games so I refused to buy him any toy guns or weapons except for the occasional water pistol. But then at Halloween he wanted to be Peter Pan and the costume required special green tights and a plastic sword for maximum authenticity. He loved that sword. Long after the jack-o-lanterns and green tights were put away he would go out to play in the back yard wearing a too-big belt with the sword tucked in it. He was very stylish for a modern-day pirate. Nowadays he favors t-shirts from thrift stores and Tom's Shoes without socks, even in the coldest weather.
Gifted and talented programs. Open classrooms. Advanced classes. Jazz band. Soccer team. Eagle Scout. He sounds perfect, doesn't he? Not quite. I remember the lecture he got from the judge who suspended his driver's license after his third speeding ticket in less than a year. Lessons were learned. He grew up.
Happy 21st boy-child. I love you.