Sunday, February 5, 2012

...and so they grow

On February 4,1905, my grandfather George was born.  I don't know a whole lot about his upbringing except that he had a brother named Albert, was the son of immigrant parents who eventually changed their German surname to an American one, and that he attended school until he reached the eighth grade- which for a man of his generation and class, was considered a respectable amount of education.  But as a kid, none of his background ever really mattered to me.  I was content to simply sit by his side in my grandparent's tiny one bedroom apartment on LeSuear St. and hold his hand as he lovingly smiled at my grandmother and patiently listened to her visit with their four grandchildren. 
I'm guessing this picture was taken in the 50's or '60's in Florida.

My grandfather always told me that he wanted to live to be an hundred years old.  He had always been in pretty good health and we were all pretty sure that he'd make it until he fell and broke his hip when he was eighty-nine.  He died the day after he reached his 90th birthday- which would be seventeen years ago, today.

So when I discovered that I was pregnant for the second time and that the due date would be February 5th, I immediately thought of my grandfather and prayed fervently that my baby would be born on the 4th of February, George's birthday, instead of his death date.  I don't know if the prayer I continually prayed for nine months was answered by a loving Heavenly Father who found favor on one of his billions of earthly children or if I simply willed my body to begin laboring on the 3rd, but Mr. Reporter was brought into this snowy world during the wee hours of the 4th of February, and I was finally able to rest and bask in the glow of the neurochemicals- prolactin, oxytocin, and betaendorphins, that much like Cupid's arrow, bonded me with love to my baby.
Mr. Reporter in the tub around age 1

This little baby of mine turned fifteen yesterday.  He has grown into a thoughtful, intelligent, and handsome young man that I can whole heartedly express my pleasure in having had the honor to raise. This weekend he is performing in Rodger's and Hammerstein's Cinderella at Harrisburg's Christian Performing Arts Center.  He learned how to dance the waltz for the Prince's ball scene, he sang in the chorus and looked as dashing as ever in his black tuxedo with tails.  Last weekend, he performed as Gilbert in his homeschool group's play, Anne of Green Gables.  To watch him go from having a lead role in which he dazzled the audience with his charm to being silenced and relegated to only eye candy in a rather large cast for Cinderella, was rather hard for me, as his mother, to watch.  Maybe it's because I know of his talent and the gifts he has to offer.  But when I asked him about how he felt about only being part of the cast, he said he didn't mind. That he preferred the supporting roles.
The boat scene with Mr. Reporter as Gilbert, teasing Anne.

Which is really true of his character.  He is the second born child.  His older brother, Mr. Tailor, is more often than not, in the spotlight.  And Mr. Reporter just smiles at him- proud of his accomplishments.  Proud to be his best friend and the wind beneath his wings- as Bette Milder used to sing.  And just as he doesn't like having the spotlight on stage, he doesn't prefer the spotlight on his belated birthday either.  So instead, the two of us will be spending some time in the kitchen this morning, whipping up a couple of lemon meringue pies, that the family will bring over to the Craft Queen's house tonight as we all watch the Super Bowl together and quietly celebrate his birthday.
Mr. Reporter in birth order with his brothers.

Just as he'd prefer it- just as my grandfather would have preferred it, as well.


Tracy said...

Awesome story! His birthday will always be extra special because he shares it with his great grandfather. Happy Birthday Zach!

K.C. said...

Zach did a wonderful job as Gilbert, full of charm and humor, with a face to die for, a true heart breaker. As a credit to his parents, his pretty face doesn't seem to have gone to his head. (Or should I say brain, since technically the face is part of the head?) He seems to be genuinely friendly and caring, with a talent for listening. Bravo to Zach and his parents!

Z3 said...

I know I have a face to die for ;)
Of course, I dont like to brag about it, its not like I had a choice in the matter....

Got lucky I guess :)

Thanks though :D

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

You are a wonderful mother.

the Lady said...

Tracy- I agree. I have a niece that was born on my birthday and we have this unique bond because of it.

K.C.- Thank you. He is pretty level headed- despite his precarious age.

Z3- You did get lucky by inheriting your father's genes. Don't forget it, kid.

Denise- Your words are hard ones to swallow- but I appreciate your kindness. I don't think a parent ever feels fully equipped to fill the role or completely content with their performance. But that's how life flows, wouldn't you agree?

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

Your response to my comment confirms my thought.

Britta said...

Happy, happy birthday to an incredibly talented, kind, handsome young man!

And I loved the tie in with your Grandfather. How very special!

Rachael | The Slow-Cooked Sentence said...

Strange, those circles in life. Names and dates resurfacing through the generations. My daughter's birthday falls on her great-grandmother's. Thank you for sharing your family's stories.

the Lady said...

It is strange, isn't it? Members of our family (both immediate and extended) also prefer the number 21 for their birthdays, as well. Must be something in the cosmos.

He knows you love him. Thank you for the very thoughtful gift.