I’ll confess, I’ve been dreading this birthday. For Mormons, twelve marks the great crossover from childhood, to Young Men or Young Women. This Sunday Gabe leaves Primary where he’s sung and been taught since he was 18 months old, to Young Men’s. He’ll be ordained a Deacon, join a Quorum… go to junior high.
My fifth and youngest boy– I’ve clung to his childhood, so hard, for so long, and he’s rewarded me with his extraordinary sweetness, matchless humor and intense creativity.
But he’s growing up. I can’t hold him back.
But I have a feeling he’ll always be Gabe.
When I asked for a birthday photo, I thought we’d comb his hair and step into the back yard. But Gabe donned his jacket and bow tie (’cause bow ties are cool) and insisted we go downtown.
As we drove he chattered about his awesome sixth grade teacher, his latest story and the game he and Xander made up with their Legos last night. Every few minutes he turns to me saying, “You’re the best mom ever.” or “I’m so glad you’re my mom.” “You take the best pictures.” He’s all sunshine and love and enthusiasm.
As the fifth in a line of brilliant, talented boys and shining star Mary just below him, you might think Gabe gets overshadowed. And yet, he holds his own.
This is what happens when I tell Gabe to push his hair out of his eyes.
If his brothers tease, he turns their words into a compliment; when Mary cries, he comforts. He brings out the best in his siblings, the best in everyone.
I’ve heard rumblings lately about the damage parents inflict by posting negative or embarrassing facts and photos about their children. And I have to think the opposite is also true.
When I focus on my childrens’ strengths, they do too.
As Gabe says, “It’s important to keep up my street cred.”
And just in case you’re wondering— 1. yes, he still sleeps with Baby Bear.
2. almost never eats fruit.
3. sings and dances with wild abandon
4. cuddles up next to me during family prayer
and I’m still (and probably forever) the only person allowed to call him Gaby-baby.
Happy Birthday Gabriel! We love and adore you.