Warning: This is a sappy post. Don't read if you're diabetic or prone to hyperactivity due to overconsumption of sugar!
June 24, 1981--the day my one and only son was born. Just shy of 9 pounds, barely any hair, eyes so dark you can't see the pupil. He was called everything from Buddy to Tank. With three sisters, he still managed to be all boy. Usually recruiting his younger sister into his antics.
I remember putting him on solid food at six months because we couldn't afford to keep him in baby food. He ate so much, we had to start feeding him what we were eating. I remember him crawling with one knee and one foot on the floor. We lived in an old house and the floors were cold, so he was walking by nine months.
I remember an orange jersey he loved. He'd race around the yard yelling "the big orange shirt, the big orange shirt! Nothing can beat the big orange shirt!" He would only wear shorts and pants with pockets. Kept them filled with all kinds of goodies (I use the term loosely).
I remember the Mr T big wheel. Our neighbor had a pretty steep driveway and Clayton thought nothing of climbing to the top and careening down on his big wheel. At the bottom, he'd turn the wheel hard and spin around. More than once he crashed. He'd stand up, shake it off, and do it again.
I remember "The Evil Zing", a play he and his sister wrote and performed--and actually recorded on a tape recorder, complete with sound effects. I remember Clayton running with me as I tried to regain my pre-kids weight. It was like running with a Great Dane! While I struggled to breathe, he would literally run circles around me, telling me jokes, etc.
I remember karate, Little League, cub scouts, cross country, wrestling. Practical jokes in sign language that backfired. Dances. Toilet papering houses--and plastic wrapping cars. I remember broken fingers, stitches, and a deep tissue bruise that wound up being a broken leg.
I remember fat little arms around my neck. Now those arms are long and strong and oh so far away. My little boy has turned into a wonderful, gentle, sweet, caring man. He learned certain lessons well from his father and is a gentleman to the core. He learned sarcasm and cynicism from me, unfortunately. You did well, grasshopper. He has an uncanny sense of just how long I can take his music and will turn the station to something I like. He is the neatest of my children and actually keeps a very clean apartment. He is and always has been a joy and an inspiration to me.