In about 45 minutes from when I started writing this it will officially be Owen's 13th birthday. He didn't come into this world easily. My pregnancy was difficult with full time nausea and the last month on bedrest. He was born at 37 weeks after my doctor decided it was too risky to keep going with the pregnancy and induced labor. 13 long hours of back labor (my tailbone hurts just thinking about it) and he was born via urgent c-section at 12:48 a.m. on February 17, 1999. 6 lbs 12 oz and 19.5 inches long. He had a heart murmur from being born a little early but that closed up by his 1st birthday. He lost a lot of weight in the hospital, more than normal, and was in preemie clothes when we took him home. Such a tiny little thing. I noted to David how I thought it was strange that O slept through the night after he was born. David remarked that no... actually I slept through the night. David had stayed up all night with him while I passed out for a few hours. I had no idea. From the beginning he has always been a wonderful father.
After that pregnancy and subsequent postpartum depression we decided not to have any more children. Owen was proving to be enough for us and we agreed that we would be better off if we could outnumber him. He was a very smart, busy and willful child. When he was two a friend pointed out to us that we would tell O no and then not follow through and that was probably part of our problem with him. At first we were offended but after we got over ourselves we realized he was right and it took a good couple of years for us to prove to Owen that we meant business when we said no. Energy we feel now was definitely worth exerting when he was young. I think that friend probably saved our marriage and the fate of our really wonderful child.
When Owen started kindergarten he went from being an only child who interacted almost exclusively with adults to being in a kid environment with socialized peers. That transition was rough for him. He couldn't remember names and referred to kids with descriptors like, "That little man in the green shirt". The social aspects of school were fairly lost on him. His strong sense of fairness and justice made for some "passionate" altercations. He's always had a strong sarcastic sense of humor that only his best gal pal actually understood. They're still good friends and I'm confident that sarcasm was the glue that has kept them together. He already knew some basic math and his alphabet and really remedial reading. By the end of kindergarten we had gotten World of Warcraft and he REALLY wanted to play but it was annoying to have to read him every quest so I told him he couldn't play until he learned how to read. Seriously the best motivator ever... of course then we realized he could read general chat and didn't let him play much after that. Parental Fail. That was really his first foray into the world of gaming.
By the end of elementary school he was at the top of his class in all the state testing, his teachers talked about him from year to year so his new teachers already knew all about him and were more than happy to have him in class. I always helped out in his classrooms so I knew what the teachers would say during conferences but David always came along so he could hear it too. How his teachers are tickled by his writing style and impressed by how easy academics come to him. In fact at one point he was bored with how he felt like some of the other kids hold him back because they don't learn as fast as he does. He even once commented that he felt he was smarter than his teacher. That went over well... We quickly taught him that part of being smart is learning to keep your mouth shut, a skill we could all work on on occasion. He wanted me to home school him to combat that issue. HA! um, no. We're not worried about the academics, we're worried about the social and he's not going to get that at home with me. Although I am very social. ;)
Now he's in middle school. I have always said that as he gets older the hard stuff gets harder but the fun stuff gets way more fun. At his last parent/teacher conference I was trying to go through his work while he filled out a self-evaluation.
Me: (cracking up at his clever writing sample while listening to him read his evaluation out loud) Owen: Things I'm good at: I'm awesome Things I need to work on: My humility.
He said it outloud to amuse me but he didn't actually write it, I had to check to make sure. I'm sure his teacher thought we were crazy it took us so long to get through the short stack of papers because I couldn't stop laughing. He'll do anything to make me laugh, the boy has no shame. I'm so proud of his complete lack of caring what other people think. I hope he holds on to that quality for dear life.
Honestly the only other person who can make me laugh as much is David. I guess Owen gets that from Dave. He's really the best parts of both of us. He's got an awesome, albeit cheesy and obscure, sense of humor. He's a man with his Dad and goofy and loving with me. He still holds my hand in public without fear of who will see him, I've always told him that girls are impressed by boys who are nice to their mothers and so far he's buying it. ;) He's very into tech toys and all things nerdy, it's not a bad word in our house, we take pride in our nerdiness. He's smart as a whip and respectful and very thoughtful and curious. He's got his quiet and introverted side like David and when needed he's learning to be an assertive extrovert like me. He can wiggle his ears and do the Billy Idol face like Dave but has got my little button nose and round orb of a head. Oh and as an aside it was just confirmed to us that after nearly 13 long years of trying he has FINALLY gotten taller than me. A landmark day in any young boys life!
Through this whole year so far Owen has been unbelievable. Maybe he's feeding off our energy or maybe he's got our pluckiness but he's really doing well with all the difficult things we're dealing with and we hope we can continue to help him as we journey on together. I keep reminding him that we're a family and we will figure it all our together, no matter what. We're incredibly proud of him and even though that teen attitude has started to creep in we're also seeing a mature side of him we like the looks of. For his birthday dinner we're going to get Dave up in the wheel chair to come out and visit. That will be good for all of us.