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Have you ever gone on vacation and just a few days before you are set to go home, you start to feel sad? You know the fun is about to end and you have to go back to the daily grind. With each birthday, I sadly mark Ryder’s passing years. They are irretrievable, they are vanished. And while I don’t miss the diapers or the strollers, I sure miss those simpler days with him.

In his seventh year, Ryder has become somewhat socially independent (he doesn’t cling to my skirts in public), and he’s adapted to his academic curriculum. He still doesn’t tie his shoelaces, but he sure makes magnificent knots. His hand writing has improved from chicken scratch to a somewhat legible hieroglyphics which I am fortunate to say, B and I and his teacher can discern on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays — by Thursday his handwriting has suffered a fiery demise, but on Monday, it undergoes a miraculous resurrection. He is an avid book “glancer” with gifted oratory skills: Macdongles (McDonalds), followme (family), and pork and cheese (Portuguese). He is a radio despot with a maniacal obsession he should have outgrown for milk.

We’ve seen first hand how quickly these years can disappear into a blur. With our 9-year-old twins those first few years felt more like parental hazing than parental bliss. I suppose you can say the twins were the task masters to our parental initiation. I guess that was the first favor they ever did for Ryder. By the time he came around, we weren’t panicked pledges, trying desperately to survive. Thanks to them, we knew, or so we thought, a thing or two about parenting. Of course, on that score we quickly learned we were delusional.

Seven years is not so far removed from infancy. I still see traces of the baby I am so fortunate to call my son. His elbows are still dimpled and his fingers and toes are inexplicably chubby like the chorizos his paternal father loved to eat. When he holds my hand or is disproportionately concerned about my welfare (“Momma! don’t ride your bike so close to the curb!”) — I catch a glimpse of the man my son will soon become.  And I am proud. Irrepressibly, inexorably, and forever proud. 


As I write this, I am painfully aware of the insurmountable grief families are enduring in Newtown, Conn., tonight. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.