Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy 9th Birthday Nolan James!

In the nine years since Nolan first graced us with his presence, one thing we can all agree on, he has a flair for the dramatic. His arrival into this world could not have been any more of a cliffhanger than it was. I am convinced my grueling labor and delivery fraught with emotional turmoil was symbolic for the unexpected rollercoaster that is our son.

He is intense, persistent, kind, unrelenting, demanding, loving, spirited, loud, smart, abrasive, caring, passionate and has boundless energy. He woke his grandmother up at 6 this morning. By 8 he begged his dad to take him golfing and they golfed 18 holes. We went out for a late lunch and then came home for a family birthday party. But he was convinced Colton blew out some of HIS candles on the cake, and drama ensued. He stripped down to his underwear and crawled under the table, wounded and upset, convinced the world was against him.

We're getting used to it. Its his M.O. His signal. When he has had too much stimulation, too much noise, too much of a lack of structure and routine, he lets us know by falling to pieces. Its taken us many years and much trial and error. But with the help of some good parenting books we have come to understand him. And the cure for him when he is tempermental and out of sync, is to get him to bed. Then we pray for a better day the next day!

But you can't help but love him. He has many friends. Many. He does well at school. He is a really good athlete. And he has a soft heart. Last year he came home wanting to invite "Taylor" to his party. He kept asking if it was okay. I kept saying yes without understanding what he was asking. So I asked his teacher. I'm not kidding when she teared up. It just so happens that Taylor, is the girl that sits in a wheelchair. She can't talk although she does make vocalizations. She clearly would not have been able to bowl.

Nolan didn't care. His reasoning was that if he were the one in the wheelchair, he would want someone to invite him to their party, so why shouldn't he invite Taylor to his? She could watch and just be part of it, couldn't she? So I called Taylor's mom. And she was both excited and disappointed. They were going out of town. But she was thrilled that Taylor had been asked, and she thanked me. I set her straight, it was all Nolan's doing, not mine.

I have an entire journal filled with "Nolan" stories. If ever there were a book to write, it would be about my journey with Nolan. No story however, comes close to topping his story about God and the sunburn.

When Nolan was three he had gone to play the Sunday golf game with his dad one April day. It was unusually warm that day and got up into the mid 60's. It was just warm enough to catch us off-guard and Nolan experienced his first sun burn. Oh did he howl when I gave him his bath that night. He could not fathom how that red had gotten on his skin. We put some ointment on it and put him in bed and he was much better in the morning.

A few days later after his bath he came to me. We'd had one of those days. I was in bed, emotionally drained and exhausted. Its hard to be three. Its even harder to be a parent of a child who is three. I was startled to see him creeping into my room. His eyes were downcast. His voice was somber and serious. "Mom, he said, his voice filled with resignation, "I think I'm dying." I got up from the bed. My mind started to spin.

I said "Nolan, what is wrong?"

"My skins coming off," he said. "I must be dying."

I said, "Nolan, what have you been doing? Did you get into something? DID YOU PUT SOMETHING IN YOUR MOUTH?"

"Oh mom," he said, "Every day I do. You tell me not to, but I do. I just can't help it.

"What Nolan, tell me what you put in your mouth?"

"I ate grass once," he said. "I eat dog food all the time. Oh, and I licked the bottom of my shoe. Yesterday I tasted the side of the car and its pooey mom, don't ever put your tongue on it!"

By now I am trying to hold my sides that are jiggling from the laughter trying to escape.

"Now my skin is coming off. Mom, I'll probably be going to heaven tonight. Don't be sad."

I am leaning over inspecting what I realized is the peeling sunburn now and hugging him at the same time.

"Oh Nolan" I managed to choke out.

As I go to get some lotion he tells me he has to use the bathroom. I holler at him to close the door and wait for him to return. As he comes around the corner he is smiling. "Mom! I've got it," he says. "Do you think God goes potty? Because if he does, and he closes the door, I'll just sneak down from Heaven when he isn't looking and give you a hug so you won't miss me too much."

And with that he ran back to bed.

He is a keeper that one. He tries our patience, and manages to find our last nerve. But the joy he brings, the laughter, the unique way of being in this world. He is more, and with that, we are more too. I can't wait to have the rest of this journey with him.

We love you Nolan! Happy Birthday Peanut!


  1. Oh, if I didn't love him before, he has completely stolen my heart now. Completely.

    My best friend's son has really struggled, he's on meds and not doing so great at school, but he is just the best kid in the world. His perspective, his empathy, his heart the size of Texas, his silly grin that he flashes at just the right time. It's really hard for her to be his mom sometimes, but it is also the best part of her life.

    Nolan sounds like a great kid. And I'm hoping he never outgrows his imagination... I do, however, hope he outgrows the urge to see what a car tastes like. :)

    Tell him Riley and I hope he has a really special day!

  2. Gitz, we ALL hope Nolan outgrows some of his urge to stop seeing what unusual things taste like. I think I'd have a lot of stories I could swap with your friend (S?)

    I will relay your birthday wishes to him! Thanks sweetie:)

  3. Ohh! what a beautiful story and you told it so well. I can just feel your heart and mine beating together. I love kids and I love Nolan and you for being such a great Mom!!

    By the way..... you are going to laugh.
    My name is Vicky as well. lol
    That's why I kept it a Lady's Life
    In Quebec I was the only one but out this way, everyone has the same name.
    Well now you have two things to celebrate. Momas Day and a birthday.
    That was some gift Mama.:)
    Such a strapping fine handsome young man . God Bless him and may all his wishes come true! :)

  4. Yes Beau is a fine dog.
    Animals are like children, all different, all special, all loved.

  5. Vicky @ A Lady's Life :) I love it!! And it is spelled like my name :) Although, do you know my full name is Victoria? And I only live 3 1/2 hours from Quebec. It seems we have a lot in common :)

  6. So is mine ( Victoria )lol but that sounds too heavy. Have have a very heavy name, so every one calls me vicky or vic.
    I still have a country place out there but I am debating on whether or not to sell it. I love Seattle and BC and I think I'd be heart broken to go back
    Everything has changed. There are just too many people. When we had our funeral procession for my Dad the drivers were angry and wouldn't let it through. Showed absolutely no respect for the dead and then my Mom is buried on the west coast, my oldest married and moved to Australia and the rest of my family is spread out throughout the US so its like the family is all over tim buck two.
    You sit, you watch and you wonder.


  7. Sounds like Nolan and Ryan both were born to give their parents some serious gray hairs. Happy Birthday to him!

  8. Happy birthday Nolan.
    I was a lot like Nolan as a kid and my mother survived.

  9. A Journey with Nolan! Sounds like a best seller! So well written! Happy Birthday to a wonderful son!

  10. Okay. When writing makes you audibly gasp, that's good writing. Vicky, you have to enter Writer's Digest's contest and this should go in.

    You told such a beautiful tale of life with our boys - so full of maddening irritations and heart-stopping kindnesses.

    I can't list all the things I loved about this but of course, the ending, in all its seriousness with his confessions is heart wrenchingly precious. And then his "plan" for how he will come down to see you when God goes to the bathroom? The best writer in the WORLD couldn't think that one up. That's the one that drew the audible gasp.

    I love Nolan. And I love you.

  11. Vic, so glad to have a name for you and I've enjoyed getting to know you :) Thanks for all of your kind words!

    Bonnie, gray hairs and ulcers :) At least we are not alone and can commiserate.

    Dr. John, so glad there is hope for me :)

    Missy, thanks :) Gotta love boys!

    Robynn, my goodness, you are heaping on the praise and where is that embarassed-face-emoticon, cause you are making me blush!! Thank you for your encouragement :) I'll have to check into it, and I will let you know! Love you too Robynn!


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