Thing 1



LilZ is successfully holding two small children simultaneously. Do you realize how amazing that is? And he was proud of this. He understands enough about kids to recognize that this moment? Was one that should be documented. Hence the Take The Picture Already look on his face. He knew his arms wouldn’t hold out forever.

That’s my oldest child. Who turns 14 today.

I don’t talk about him as much lately as I’d like to. He doesn’t hide this site from his friends and I would hate for him to be showing them a funny picture and they stumble upon an entry where I’m talking about how awesome he is for volunteering to babysit while I soak in the tub. That’s just not cool, you know.

But he does stuff like that all the time. And I’m going to take today, his birthday, to brag about that.

He recognizes my stress tolerance limit and – if he needs to (meaning – if MrZ is not home) – he will openly volunteer to help me out. But even when I’m not in need of a break? He just likes to hang out with his brother and sister. I feel like I’m cheating sometimes, because he just likes to help. Which lightens my burden immensely.

But more than that — he’s just a good person. He sticks up for people who need it and feels for people he can’t help. He’s considerate and sincere. And most of all – he stays true to who he is, regardless of others opinions. He finds his own style and his own interests absent of what The Cool Kids are doing. And as a result? He has a great group of friends who like him for who he is. He’s just so much better at 14 than I was. Hell – Sometimes I think he’s a better person at 14 than I am at 33.

Anyway…every birthday is bittersweet to me now. Because with each one – he needs me less and less. I’m lucky in that he still likes me. So, he doesn’t mind going to movies or meals with me. He still allows me to force Quality Time upon him, and he does me the courtesy of pretending he enjoys it. And that makes each birthday a little easier to handle.

But seriously…FOURTEEN? I got an email yesterday about his HIGH SCHOOL REGISTRATION. Let me repeat that…HIGH SCHOOL REGISTRATION. I about threw up when I read it. There’s no way he’s starting high school next year…right?

But he will. No matter how much I try to bury my head in the sand about it…he will start high school next year. So, for now, I’m just going to wish him a Happy 14th Birthday. And thank him for being more than I could ever ask for in a son and a friend.

I love you! Happy Birthday!

49 thoughts on “14.”

  1. Happy Birthday, LilZ!!

    He does seem like the most awesome person. What’s your secret? I am trying to instill the characteristics you describe in my son (he’s 4) so that he is like LilZ when he is 14 and beyond!

  2. Your son definitely gives me hope that my son can grow up just like that and be a generally good person. Wish him a happy birthday for me.

  3. All hail LilZ! What a great kid you have there — and what a great parent you are for helping him become who he is.

  4. Happy Birthday LilZ! Enjoy 14 – it’s fun!

    LilZ is an awesome kid – he must have an awesome mom helping him along the way 🙂

  5. Rachael1013 – Bellingham, WA USA – Sassy, fiery, tattooed bookworm, kinda-geek-girl, big heart, movie buff, mama to 2 crazy boys, photographer, windows down car singer following the thread of hope into a new phase of life. The written word is in my blood.
    Rachael (SNOTW) says:

    Happy Birthday to your TOTALLY AWESOME son!

  6. Nothing but the best of Birthday wishes to LilZ!!! Though I barely know you, I hear enough about you from you mother & mutual friends to know that you are an awesome young man.
    To be an awesome young man, you have to have some awesome influences; first & formost of these, would be your parents. They both have a right to be very proud of you.

  7. Happy Birthday, LilZ! It was almost painful for me to read this post, because I do not even want to think about Al growing up. But if he turns out as cool and good as LilZ, it’ll be O. K.

  8. Happy Birthday, LilZ!! He’s such a great kid, you’re so lucky, Zoot. I hope when I have kids, they are as awesome as yours.

  9. Happy Birthday, LilZ!

    And Zoot – you deserve a lot of credit here. To raise a son with such amazing core values and with love and kindness in his life; that came from you! So congratulations on a being a great parent!

  10. That’s soooooooo sweet! You’re a very lucky mom and he’s a very lucky son – that you have each other. Happy Bday LilZ

  11. Happy Birthday, LilZ!

    I think all of us who come here frequently know what a cool person LilZ is. And Zoot, I’m sure that has a lot to do with you.

  12. Happy birthday, LilZ!

    I am so impressed with what a wonderful kid LilZ is every time you write about him or put up a picture of him being such a wonderful big brother to his little siblings. I’d be very proud if my future kids turned out exactly like him!

  13. i’m as blown away by him (and how fast they’re all growing up!) as you. i miss and love him so much….please give him a huge hug from me today.

  14. Happy Birthday LilZ!


    You describe his qualities so well, and he should be proud of the person he is! You have done a great job raising him, and I am sure that he is going to pass those excellent qualities onto his little brother and sister.

    I remember 14 (being only 19 now) and I was a bundle of nerves starting high school. At least he seems relaxed, and ready to start this new phase in his life!

  15. Happy birthday, LIl Z!

    I know what you mean! I’ve got one turning 11 Friday and we’ve been getting inundated with middle school information. It’s just crazy how time goes by so quickly. And for a mom…darn right scary!

  16. You’ve got yourself a great kid there! The 15 y/o girl in my house doesn’t help out like he does. It’s like pulling teeth over here. I know I don’t have to tell you how lucky you are. You’ve obviously done a great job raising him. Kudos!

    Happy birthday LilZ! Stay as fantastic as you already are…

  17. Happy Birthday to LilZ! 14. WOW! I guess I’ve been reading your blog for quite awhile, because that made me feel old. 🙂 And for some reason I never noticed before that he shares a birthday with my nephew. (And of course I don’t have a favorite niece or nephew, but if I did? It would be this one) I hope that this year is full of fun and happiness for him!

  18. Hold on there, mama! You still have a few good years left before he will want to leave the nest. And boys never really leave their mama.

    I went through all this high school stuff last year with my oldest (and will be doing so with my youngest this year), so I know what you are talking about.

    Happy birthday to LilZ!

  19. I know what you mean about them growing up to fast. I felt the same way when my oldest two entered high school. And now one of them has graduated and has a baby already. My 3rd oldest will graduated 8th grade this May and be in high school too. My youngest will help me stay sane…lol. He’s only 5. So I have time to pretend he’ll never grow up, lol But my oldest 3 are a lost cause, lol They’re growing almost too fast for me to keep up.

  20. Oh! I remember last years photo from explore! Happy birthday LilZ! I hardly remember what being 14 was like. Yikes!

  21. Swistle – Thistleville – Swistle lives with her husband Paul and children Robert (born 1999), William (born 2001), twins Elizabeth and Edward (born 2005), and Henry (born 2007). Email: Swistle at Gmail dot com. "Swistle" rhymes with "thistle."
    Swistle says:

    I really like your kid from your descriptions of him. And your descriptions make me feel happier about my own boys—like maybe the teen years will be horrible and scary, but also maybe they won’t be, or maybe at least they’ll be a MIX.

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