17 Years Ago…

17 years ago today, at 2:05 PM, my husband and I welcomed into the world our oldest son.

In some ways, Bugs has been eclipsed by his twin brothers coming so soon after him, something that seems quite unfair at times.  Bugs is quiet, and very sensitive.  He is the child that thinks of everyone else, which in the early years translated into a gift for each of his brothers on every field trip, giving away his snack to the child who didn’t have one, and later, a wisdom and ability to place himself in other peoples’ shoes.  He is deeply spiritual, and knows that God is in control.

I’ve long felt Bugs got cheated on the attention, because Buzzard and Roo required so much.  I tried desperately to make it up when I could.  It’s been a wild roller coaster trying to parcel out who gets undivided attention at what time.  Sometimes it feels like I’m just putting out fires all day.  I hope he knows how much he is loved, and how important he is.  For a long time he could sense the twin connection that Buzzard and Roo have, and wanted so much to have that connection as well.  And my heart broke watching him struggle with it, watching him try to figure out what they had with each other that he did not have with either of them.  Over time his very essence set into a person who could be his own without the need of someone else while still realizing that it’s good to have brothers.

Stick with me guys. I can teach you about life…

It’s my job to be the driver…

He is very smart, but isn’t too keen on having to prove it to anyone, which can be good, or bad depending on the situation.  Many have commented over the years that he seemed older than his actual age, and indeed he is just as comfortable with adults as he is with his peers.

I can’t believe he is 17.  Where did the time go?  I know every parent feels this way.  During the journey, it seems to last forever, but in the blink of an eye it’s gone.  It feels like a race to teach them everything you want them to know before they leave you.  And you think you have such a long time–years really, to accomplish your goal.  But then suddenly they are sleeping away at someone else’s house, going away to camp for a week, and then learning to drive.   Then one day they are looking at girls in a different light, and then suddenly trying to decide where to go to college.

If Buzzard and Roo are the very breath of me, Bugs is the very soul of me.  I wish for him every happiness as he traverses the world.  Happy Birthday, baby.

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39 Responses to 17 Years Ago…

  1. Oh this is such a beautiful tribute to your son!! It almost brought tears to my eyes because I am feeling the passage of time myself more and more lately with my boys. Happy Birthday to Bugs – he’s a very handsome young man!!

  2. denizb33 says:

    Aww, love those last two photos. So sweet.

  3. Aww!! Happy Birthday to Bugs!!
    It’s true, we grow pretty fast!
    I hope he has an amazing day! And I’m sure he knows he’s loved!
    P.S. The photograph with him on the cushion, watching television with his leg crossed is my favourite! It’s so cute! Almost commercial for Sony. He should have been paid for that shot!!! So model-dwesque!

  4. You have such and wonderful connection to your boys Arnel. This brought tears. My youngest will be 17 on Aug. 22. It seems we were pregnant at the same time. That was the hottest summer I’ve ever spent! This was beautifully written. Have you read the children’s book, I Love You the Purplest? Your piece brought that to mind.

    • Thank you, TW. It made me cry. I’ve been sad, thinking about how old he is. I can’t believe I didn’t put that together after you posted about your boys and the storm. I don’t remember it being hot–is that weird? I haven’t read that children’s book, but now I may have to!

  5. terry1954 says:

    Happy birthday Bugs!!!!!!!!

  6. Sweet post and one I’m sure he’ll treasure in years to come. I love the picture of the three little ones looking out the window:)

  7. Happy Birthday Bugs and Happy Birthday Arnel [son's birthday is mom's birthday too isn't it?!]!
    All the best! :-)

  8. Des Alba says:

    Just finished wiping off some tears after reading your story, Arnel. Your are a wonderful mother to your boys!!! For three good years, I was blessed to witness all the good things you have so lovingly written about your eldest. I thought of him as the wise young man with the tender heart in our Middle School classroom, who I could count on to do good when things got rough. He was the one who taught me what it really means to “turn the other cheek” as I was about to go ballistic on a couple of his classmates. His quiet “They’re just playing Mrs. A” calmed me down and gave me the chance to give the naughty boys a serious heart-to-heart talk after class that was a thousand times more effective. Time and again I would catch sight of your son being a friend to anyone who needed it- including keeping me company for lunch- what a blessing he was!
    You know it in your heart Arnel, your son is a very precious gift from God and you will continue to be amazed as he continues to grow in wisdom and grace!!!
    Miss you, miss the boys, miss all things and folks Cville…
    Happy 17th Birthday to Nick!!!

    • Thanks Des. Your post made me cry, but I showed Nick and he had a grin ear to ear. You are so sweet, and Nick sends his best, and asked where you were. I hadn’t realized you’d left the city, though I thought you were with your daughter. Thank you for the precious gift of you words. To hear good things about your kids is such a blessing. Keep in touch!

  9. Rhonda says:

    Beautiful Arnel and I feel your joy/pain. In the blink of an eye your at a wedding, then a birth, then…oh crap. Leaky Sunday…congrats to you and your family. Happy Birthday Bugs!

  10. Barney says:

    Wonderful tribute. Well done

  11. My first two weren’t as close as yours and you had twins…but I often felt the same as my first two sons were 16 months apart and a newborn especially one that had some health issues seemed to get more attention than him…but like you I tried whenever possible to give him extra attention. He grew up to be such a sensitive, kind and caring person so he must have felt the love that we had for him…just as your son does also….Diane

    • Funny how that works. We spend so much time in regret for how things panned out, and yet they survive in spite of us! And they are resilient. I guess the most important thing is just being there–always!

  12. robincoyle says:

    What a handsome young man. Who is that young, beautiful young woman with him in the photos? His sister?

    • He is a handsome young man, but I fear you need an ophthalmologist for the right side of your viewing field! LOL! You are too kind. The crows feet and wrinkles are as promenint as ever. Thank goodness for the luminescent button in Lightroom. It just dissolves them! Hope you are having lots of fun!

  13. Holy crow.We just hit girls, so does that mean *blink* college is next? That’s just freaky!

  14. Madhu says:

    What a beautiful and poignant tribute to your boy on the threshold of adulthood Arnel! Warm birthday wishes to Bugs :-)

  15. Tell him I say happy belated birthday! :)

  16. Snigdha says:

    This post is wonderful. I turned 17 myself just a week ago, and I totally know how you feel. My mother says she agrees to every word of yours.
    Will it be too weird if I wish Bugs a belated Happy Birthday? Now?

    Arnel, this place is wonderful. And you should be proud of your son! 17 is when we’re just getting started. It’s a good thing, right? :D

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