I can remember the first time I had to go to sleep. Mom said, “Steven, time to go to sleep.” I said, “But I don’t know how.” She said, “It’s real easy. Just go down to the end of tired and hang a left.” So I went down to the end of tired, and just out of curiosity I hung a right. My mother was there, and she said “I thought I told you to go to sleep.

~ Steven Wright

I have four children, and my wife carried each with relative ease. Ultrasounds weren’t necessary; we didn’t want to know what we were having, just that they were healthy. Only one child decided to make things difficult, my youngest boy Ethan. He had been breech for a while and the doctor wanted to take a look and make sure he had managed to swing himself around before his due date. So, my wife waddled into the darkened room, bared her once-again enormous belly, and let them poke around. She let out an audible sigh when the tech said things looked good, and then my son did the coolest thing: he turned toward the “camera” and blinked. I watched the monitor and literally gasped. There he was, my little boy, staring right at me, as if he knew I was there, perhaps a bit worried, letting me know things were hunky dory.

A week later, on May 16th, he kept us up late waiting for him. I laughed, knowing it wouldn’t be the last time.

His big sister couldn’t say Ethan too well, so she got to calling him “Beefan”. Scrawny enough to worry the pediatrician, we upgraded the name to Beefcake, an effort the convince him by word alone to start packing it on. He did good . . .

This morning, while he ran up and down a rain-drenched field playing soccer, my wife called wanting me to ask him what he craved for his birthday supper. So, when the period ended, I ran over to the bench and asked him. His answer? “Duh! Macaroni and cheese!” The staple of his diet, he can practically make it himself.

So tonight, we’ll eat macaroni and cheese, blow out some candles, play some Lego Star Wars (“We have to beat Darth Maul, Dad!”) and maybe watch a movie or two. Then he’ll head to bed, hang a right, and eventually drift to sleep, the wonder of life dripping from his chin . . .

[top photo credit]


19 thoughts on “Beefcake

  1. Happy B-Day, dude!! That sounds like the perfect celebration!

  2. Sounds like a wonderful birthday for a precious little boy. Enjoy it.

  3. Grandpa and Grandma T May 16, 2009 — 6:58 pm

    Beefacake, Ethan, We want to wish you a very happy birthday. It was great talking with you this morning at Soccer. We will call a little later before you walk down the lane to tired and turn up or right or left-because you will fall asleep in each direction.

    We love you little man-Let’s play Chess soon.

  4. happy birthday! may babies are the best!

  5. Happy Birthday, man!! And listen to your Dad as he recites the words of Steven. Steven is a very wise man! (Your Dad is, too—just don’t tell him we said that or it will go to his head.)

  6. Happy, happy birthday!

  7. Happy birthday, big man. May your Mac always be extra cheesy.

  8. Happy Birthday young man.

    I can’t ever imagine a gift like this from my old man, or anyone else, for my birthday. Special.

  9. Happy Birthday, sounds like an awesome one.

  10. Happy Birthday, Beefcake.

    OK, that looks a bit strange on the screen, nonetheless…

  11. Hope his birthday was a good one! I also allow my kids to choose their birthday dinner (and breakfast). What is chosen is usually something Italian. And my kids love Lego Star Wars. I haven’t played it yet. I suppose I should give it a try.

  12. Lego Star Wars is the jam. Seriously. I want to play Lego Star Wars on my birthday. So you tell him I’m jealous.

  13. I’m a little late, but tell little Beefcake (very cool) that I wish him a very happy belated birthday! I hope you guys got Darth Maul!

  14. Happy birthday man!!! Star Wars on a birthday is the BEST!!! I hope you let him win.

  15. Happy happy joy joy!

    I love that story about the wink. Love it. What a beautiful moment.

    Mac and cheese, how could it be anything else?

  16. oh i just love this. and mac and cheese, lego star wars? what? like there is possibly a better time to be had? not at my house.

  17. Happy belated Birthday Ethan! I hope it was everything you hoped for. Oh, and I hope you guys were able to kick some Darth Maul behunkii, and that the Mac n Cheese didn’t create an unfair advantage for ole Darth (or is it just my Mac n Cheese that weighs that much? Must be all that extra sharp Canadian cheddar I put in there – hmmm!)

  18. What a beautifully simple post!

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