Author: Luisa Perkins
•8:18 AM
One of my favorite parenting stories involves my sister, her first husband, and their son, Sam. Going home from some social event, Bill turned to Angie and asked, "Do you think it makes other people sad that their kids aren't as cute as Sam?"

I've smiled about that anecdote for years. It seems that every parent secretly (or not) feels that his or her child is superlative--although speaking semi-objectively, Sam was the most adorable baby ever. Until Christian came along, that is.

After a somewhat colicky start in life, Christian came into his own as a sweet, funny, precociously verbal child. We spent all day, every day together, and I don't remember ever getting tired of his companionship. As if he knew that one of the ways to my heart was through books, he would remain entranced as I read aloud to him for literally hours on end. Sometimes I'd get hoarse because we'd been reading for so long. When I was busy with other things, he'd sit happily with a big stack of books at his side, making his way through them over and over again.

Like many little boys, he had a deep love for trucks of all sorts. A highlight of his week was garbage pick-up day. He would perch on top of the radiator cover in front of his bedroom window and look down at the garbage truck picking up our apartment building's trash. Load, load, crash, grind: this was a show that never got old. Once, at a dinner party, he told a friend of ours, "I want to be a garbage man when I grow up. My parents think that's funny."

Christian was able to relate to people of all ages, initiating conversation with strangers and putting them at ease. He had so many interests that he had something in common with nearly everyone. He never got tired of trips to the "Dinosaur Museum" or the "Pyramid Museum." He had names for the various playgrounds we frequented in Central and Riverside Parks: "Volcano," "Pirate," "Turtle," "Hippo." His joy and enthusiasm for life were infectious.

Through his early life, I kept telling myself that this couldn't last. I braced myself for the pre-pubescent and teen years, when surely our friendship would be put on hold for at least a decade. I know it's still early (and I'm knocking on all kinds of wood), but at thirteen-and-a-half, Christian remains delightful.

He cheerfully does whatever I ask of him, from practicing the piano to changing Daniel's diaper. He is close to his siblings, who bask in his kindness and attention. He bears his infrequent punishments with good grace and apologizes sincerely and promptly when he has made a mistake. He is thrilled for the success of others and can laugh at himself, two signs of humility that I prize highly. Does he have flaws? Oh, yes. But you won't hear about them from me. He knows what they are, and we see him working to remove them.

Christian and I are excited about our birthday month. Patrick, foxy saint that he is, is sending us off to the World Fantasy Convention in November, which will be held in exotic Saratoga Springs this year. We're excited that some of our favorite writers will be there and that the theme is right up our geekified alley; I anticipate a great weekend with one of my very best friends.

My definition of a blessing is this: something that turns one to God. In this light, anything from a found five-dollar bill to a lifetime of hardship is potentially a blessing. If you use your money or AI-worthy voice or mad nunchuck skills to bring more light and peace into the world, and your character is refined thereby, then those things are a blessing to you. If not....well, consider turning to God.

Christian is a blessing to me. I am absolutely not fishing here: I take zero credit for his goodness. He came to us that way. If I had a doubt that Wordsworth's "Ode to Immortality" was inspired, Christian dispells it. He has taught this Olympic-class grudge holder to be slower to anger and quicker to forgive. He reminds me to be free with hugs and smiles. He appreciates my creative endeavors in any form. He follows the example of his amazing father by standing up for truth and his friends fearlessly. He helps me get closer to being the person I dream of being. And I thank God for him every single day.
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On 9/5/07 , Jenna said...

You have me in tears! I love that boy of yours! He may even be good enough for my do we arrange that? (Wouldn't that be divine?) You must take a smidgen of credit for his character, but I know what you mean when you say 'he came to us that way'. This was a beautiful tribute, Luisa. You're BOTH lucky.

On 9/5/07 , Amanda1 said...

Luisa, this is a beautiful, touching post. Thank you for sharing your feelings on your sweet boy!

On 10/5/07 , Adriana said...

I loved reading this. And Christian as a tot actually sounds a lot like Jasper -- colicky as a baby, now charismatic and precociously verbal. Hope he turns out just as delightful as C is as a teen. I was just wondering those thoughts -- will it end when he's older? Maybe not...

Anyway, what a beatiful gift to Christian -- this tribute. I enjoy all the tributes you write about your children.

On 15/5/07 , bubandpie said...

My husband is totally like your ex-BIL. When we were dating, one of his round-about comments to me was the revelation that when we were out, he would look around at all the other men in the room, feeling sorry for them because the woman they were with was inferior to me. (Funny, though - he never says stuff like that to me now!)

And he's the same way with our kids - very pitying of the other parents and their second-rate children.