16-A Birthday to Remember

We celebrated my 16 yo’s birthday on Sunday. He chose breakfast-my Eggs Benedict, of course. He chose dinner: Cheese Nip Chicken, collard greens, pineapple upside down cake.

In between meals, we went to Ikea. Why Ikea? Because when his older sister turned 16 she got a trip to Ikea. (then a five hour drive) We re-did her bedroom. Last year, after we moved we did the big Ikea trip for furniture for the kids rooms. We were unable to move their beds and bedroom furniture for the most part. A five bedroom house doesn’t move without giving up some things. At the time, we talked about desks. We had gotten a desk for the “art room” which really was a computer room. The kids mostly do homework at the dining room table. We thought about the 16 thing for Joseph and decided on a trip then. Or sort of decided. This year when the topic of his birthday came up, I said we are taking him to Ikea. Denise laughed and teased me about it. She had gotten him some Christopher Moore books, an author he recently discovered and one we loved. Denise bowed out of a trip to Ikea.

She knows shopping isn’t a Joseph thing. She also knows that the two of us get overstimulated by Ikea. Ikea with crowds, even more so. Joseph was game for the idea. As he explained to Denise “It is a mommy thing.” So, the two of us set off, faced a really long wait for a train to pass and then we were there. I took some pictures.

First-we encountered bedding. He needed bedding. At 16, Yu-gi-oh just wasn’t quite right. Though when asked about changing before-he was against a change. Change isn’t a thing Joseph likes much. We picked out a duvet-but couldn’t figure out the cover, so we left that and went to look for a desk. Nothing excited us as far as desks, until we ran into Gustav. We kept looking. But, Gustav ended up as the choice. Then a chair. He tried a number-growling about who could find some of them comfortable. He really liked the one that Denise covets. He knew that that wasn’t the one for him though-price mostly, but also he knew that Denise loves it. He chose Moses instead. We made fun of Ikea art. (except for the really cool huge map. Ok, we sort of made fun of that at the same time we thought we would buy it if…) Then we found the lights and picked a lamp. Back to bedding. He picked a black and white duvet cover and black sheets. At that point, I declared “I have a teen boy!” Then off to find the escalators down to grab the desk and chair.

On the way home we discussed our successful trip but decided that Ikea labyrinths suck energy from people, in order to power things at Ikea, so to lower prices. We decided not to stop for cherries for the pineapple upside down cake.

We had a great time-the two of us. This boy child of mine-the one who was three weeks late and a month of slowly progressing labor before he finally sprung into our world.(from 5 cm to 10 to delivery in 15 minutes) His labor and birth should have been an omen. He has always been a foot dragger at something and then suddenly he is there and stunning. He is the observant child, the one who knows the rivers and eddies of our life. You won’t know it unless he wants you to know it. He loves to listen to others talk-studies them like a method actor. He loves to spend time with us as long as it is his choice. He needs his quiet time, time away from the noise and craziness. He is in many ways my easy child. I know there are those who would disagree. I would disagree at times. I am crazy in love with this boy child, the baby he was and the man he is becoming. The conversations where he sends my thinking to that place of ideas and existentialism and his enthusiasm for his ideas leave me in awe.

But, as his father and I sang to him at 16 days and 16 weeks and 16 months…and sometimes in between. He came on like a dream, like peaches and cream. Lips like strawberry wine. He is 16. He is beautiful and he is mine. And yours-and all of ours-and his own.


  1. I love this post. Especially the last lines.

    I try to do something with each of my kids on their birthdays. Even if it’s something that I don’t really like to do.

    You are a great mom.

%d bloggers like this: