Tuesday, July 31, 2012

He grows. Further away.

Almost 12
Toronto, ON
July 2012

Noah turned 12 today. To celebrate his big day, we sang him the happy birthday song, went out for dinner in his honor, and swapped stories about how big he's gotten in the last year. Those puppy feet my wife always speaks about? He's growing into them. Fast.

What made this birthday different from the 11 previous ones is that he wasn't here. He's in camp. First time. We dropped him off in Toronto early yesterday morning, then waved as he and his friends - some from school, lots more new - headed off in a convoy of busses. Hard? Sure. But if any kid was ready for this kind of adventure, it was him. We have no doubt he'll suck up every minute of the experience and figure out ways to bring some of that spirit back home to us. Knowing how much he'll enjoy being there makes missing him a little easier to manage. Just a little, though, as the house is really quiet without him. Even the dog senses a change, and he'll occasionally wander into his room, then wander out when he doesn't find his buddy.

The camp policy is that kids who celebrate their birthdays during their time up north are allowed to phone home. So he called us around suppertime, and we all gathered around the phone while the voice of this happy, tired, slightly changed boy filtered through the distance.

Before he left, he wrote letters to all of us, including the dog. He thanked us for sending him, told my wife she's his favorite person in the whole world, hugged us time and again, just because. He's still our cuddly little man, still more sweet than anything else, still empathetic in ways that make me want to be a better person.

He took a big step away from us yesterday, and I have no doubt when we pick him up at the end of camp, he'll be filthy on the outside, filled with stories and experiences on the inside, and a little bit bigger, a little bit more worldly in every other way. We can't stop time from turning him into the adult he's destined to be, but we can try to freeze-frame the moments along the way of what's already been a remarkably charmed journey not only for him, but for us.

Happy birthday, little man. Always know we're here for you, wherever here happens to be.


Sarie said...

Wow, almost time for another Bar Mitzvah. Mazel Tov to you for surviving. ;)

Jamie L said...

That was a nice read Carmi. It is a process watching them grow and letting them go.

Alexia said...

This peice encapsulates the joy, pain and terror of watching one's children grow; inevitably, they step away into their own futures.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

Well, u got me when you said he wrote letters to all of you!. wow... C., it gets easier believe me... I cried buckets (at the airport) when I dropped off my oldest when she spent the year in Italy, first it was the summer for a summer college session, which ended up being a year.. I felt like she was 'going to war'... it also was a mixture of the fact her Dad was no longer w/us as well... Well, it got easier each year whenever she or her sister wanted to travel Europe either together or alone... and yes,they were good at contacting me..Even got an international calling plan on my landline so they had no excuse not to call!. yep, your little man is growing up. But hold on, when he eventually says he wants to travel around the U.S. or Europe...If its the U.S. my door is always open.

Anonymous said...


CorvusCorax12 said...

Happy Belated Birthday

MorahMommy said...

I miss our little lovebug so much, but take comfort in knowing how happy he is. I guess we are learning the hardest part of being a parent is teaching them what they need to know and then let them go to explore the world around them.

Only tow weeks to go! I hope it goes quickly for us and very slowly for him!

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

A belated happy birthday to Noah!
My youngest turned into a teenager on the 23rd. It's both a joy and a burden to watch them change and grow into the adults they will someday become.