Friday, July 11, 2008

what skydiving must feel like

Dana was conceived on his brother’s first birthday. I could feel it right from the moment it happened. It was immediately different from my first pregnancy. I felt light-headed and a bit drunk most of the time. I never for a moment felt badly. I ate plates and plates of pasta and peaches. I gained almost no extra weight and took on the look of a polished apple.
While my first son was nearly ten days late and a fussy baby eternally attached to my breast, Dana was born on his due date. He was ten pounds of pure purring sweet baby and sleep. He slept so much I thought there was something wrong with him. We would put him in a cradle in our crowded kitchen at our restaurant, people yelling over his head, and he would snooze away obliviously.

Snoozing in the kitchen

He is a lover of play and his older brother. He is a jester if you are feeling down and an adventurer. He will do anything and try anything. When he was about 2, we were calling his name and searching for him at our mountain refuge. We found him on the roof holding one of the chickens. He is a great inventor of mischief, and taught his older brother to position the training wheels of his bike on the sides of a mud puddle so that he could pedal as fast as he could and give him a mud shower.

My sons together in the Italian Alps outside our former restaurant

Still together

At three he picked up the newspaper and read it aloud to his dumbstruck family. When on earth did that happen? At four he broke his arm on the first day of kindergarten, starting what would be a long series of daredevil injuries that has never left an enduring sign on his beauty or health. He has never taken antibiotics; he has helmets full of dings for all of his daredevil sports, in which he always excels.

Flying off our deck into the snowdrift below

He has frequent black eyes and his knees and elbows are always banged up. He skis like an overcooked spaghetti and flies over the jumps like a pro, opening up into a spread eagle, a helicopter or my own personal favorite, a Michael Jackson (complete with crotch grabbing). He is easily bored and is soaring through honors courses in school. His clothes are wild and brightly colored and his friends adore him. He makes them laugh. He is the fun.

The life of the party

Today he turns twelve, and I wonder not what the world has in store for him, but what he has in store for the world. He is a force of nature to be reckoned with, and if you’re lucky enough to get a taste of what it feels like to be around him, you’ll wish you could trade places. He is the great surprise of my life, the greatest of all. A one of a kind experience, kind of like what skydiving must feel like. Every day.


Carol said...

Happy birthday, Dana! It's BOUND to be happy!


anno said...

This is lovely! Happy birthday, Dana! It sounds like you will all have a wonderful day!

bleeding espresso said...

Love this! You've really captured an amazing spirit with your the skiing like an overcooked spaghetti. GREAT imagery :)

And happy birthday to Dana!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Happy Birthday to Dana! He sounds like pure delight.

Brillig said...

At three he picked up the newspaper and started reading???!! Holy crap!

Beautiful tribute to an amazing boy. Happiest of birthdays to him!

(And I haven't been here-- or anywhere-- in ages. I've missed you!)