3 Reasons to Celebrate Finn
1) Humor. Finn has a magnificent sense of humor, subtle at times, surprisingly sophisticated and powerful at others. He isn't afraid to throw giggle fits or spread contagious laughter throughout the house.
2) Compassion. Finn is perhaps one the most compassionate people in our family, although he wouldn't want to announce it or anything (that's what step moms are for), he takes delicate care with his siblings and they all adore him for it.
3) Courage. Finn has a courageous heart, forgiving and generous. His loyalty and forgiveness show a strength of character unmatched by many.
Well it is official, we are now the proud owners of an actual teenager.....Today is Finn's 13th birthday!!!!! Which is hard to imagine, even for a step mom. When Brendan and I first met, Finn was 7 and in second grade. Here we are 5 years later half way through middle school with a brand new teenager paving the way for the rest of our brood. Amazing that the same little freckled face boy I met all those years ago is now talking about high schools and signing up for coed softball teams. In some ways he is still the same, freckled and calm, and in so many other ways he has completely changed, the way children should as they grow. I missed out on important parts of his life, and have had to sort of put all the pieces together and gather stories and history the way any step parent does, but I'm very fortunate in that Finn has an incredible memory and will often times recount tales from his earliest recollections with out any prompting on my part. I love to hear what he remembers, what his perceptions were at such a young age. Despite what I missed out on, I feel incredibly lucky for what I have been a part of and the last 5 years together have held many wonderful memories for us. I can't wait to see what the future, what the world and what Finn himself has in store for the next leg of his journey.
I have to say that having the twins around has really shown me a different side of Finn. He has always been a wonderful big brother and a solid role model for the other kids. Fortunately enough for all involved he REALLY enjoys babies and has a lot of fun playing with them and taking care of them and he is actually quite naturally skilled in doing so. It is a lot of fun to watch his relationships with his youngest brother and sister unfold. He is undoubtedly going to make a wonderful father some day.
I feel that Oscar in particular has given me a window into Finn's past, as there is something so similar, so familiar that is shared between them. There were often times during Oscar's infancy when an expression or a mood of his would suddenly strike me as rather Finn-ish and I would find myself smiling and feeling as if I had a momentary glimpse of what Finn must have been like as a baby. It's hard to explain really and it's not a physical likeness by any means, what with Finn so fair and Oscar so dark in comparison. No, what they seem to share is more of an inner balance and harmony with the world, a similar spiritual essence if you will. Giggle all you like, but it's true!
I would be lying however if I said that I wasn't a bit nervous about the teenage realm we are about to enter together. I remember quite clearly what it felt like to be that age, and more to the point what I acted like, the decisions I made and the roller coaster ride I took my mother on during those years. Clearly Finn and I are very different people, but still I squirm a little with anticipation. These next 5 years will see him through high school and on to college and adulthood, really it will be here before we know it and I want to feel confidant that we are doing all within our power, within our capabilities to ensure that he has all the support, all the encouragement, all the proper and necessary tools and all the love he needs in order to reach his highest potentials, to achieve his dreams in life.
As is the case with most of our parenting I am always questioning myself, asking if there is something else I can be doing, offering, sharing, giving? What is missing? What did I forget? I want to be able to look back in 20 years with as few regrets as possible, not for myself (although it will be nice to sleep easy at night) but for Finn, for all of our children, because they are essentially the ones who stand to lose the most from our mistakes as parents. We have been blessed with this opportunity, this immense responsibility, to see them through childhood and to help build and strengthen critical foundations for their futures, and I really hope that we have been using the proper blueprints all these years. This is what parents do, they wonder and ask questions and strive to make improvements all the while knowing that their questions could take years to generate lasting answers. I will ask them anyway.
This weekend we had a joint birthday party for the boys, Finn and Micah who share birthdays less than a week apart. Finn was absent for most of the celebration (scheduling error on our part) but didn't seem to mind since he was busy reciting a Rudyard Kipling prose piece at the State Forensics Tournament!!!!! He brought home the silver medal along with the second place trophy for his category. I am so proud of him, for all of his dedication and hard work, for overcoming small fears (hey, it takes courage to speak in front of an audience) and for giving it 110%. Every step was worth it, just to see how excited and happy he was after such a grand achievement.
Happy Birthday Finn, I hope the school day is treating you well and I can't wait to celebrate tonight!