Tuesday, January 03, 2012

My Young Man

Today is Ashton's 12th birthday.

How can this be? How can my little baby be such a big boy? When I hug him (which he doesn't exactly love but tolerates quite well - he was never much of for hugs), he's this big solid person in my arms and he doesn't fit beneath my chin anymore. His feet are bigger than mine now.

I miss my baby Ashton.

But I love love love the young man I've got in his place.
This is Ashton after his indoor sky diving birthday present today. He LOVED it!
In the past 12 years, my little baby Ashton has developed into his own person - a person I really like a lot who has skills and abilities and interests that I can take no credit for. I remember the first time Ashton told me something I hadn't taught him. He was two and had picked up a new idea from the lesson in nursery at church. I can't even remember what it was that he said but it struck me that my little boy's world was expanding and that he was starting the long road of becoming who he needs to be - part of which will certainly be rooted in who I am and who Jared is and what we've taught him - but much of which will be shaped by who ASHTON is and by the experiences and people he encounters beyond our family and home.

If motherhood has taught me anything in these past 12 years, it's taught me that children are seedlings, not lumps of clay. They come who they are. They need water and sunlight and a little pruning now and again from their parents. But they need to become who they're meant to be - not who their parents may think they ought to be. Sure, there are bits and pieces and even whole chunks of me and of Jared in each of our kids. But I sure love seeing how they put those pieces together and add their own special stuff to become their own person. And what a joy it's been to see Ashton grow and bloom these past 12 years.

Ashton is the master of every electronic gadget he lays his hands upon - he's dabbled in pretty impressive computer programming, he's beautifully edited all the Deliberate Mothering videos for Power of Moms, he's got our old phones turned into game stations, you name anything you want done and he can do it. He decided to be a snow boarder this year and picked it up quite nicely in just one day. He's mastered tons of quite amazing magic tricks and took it upon himself to research and join the local magic club. He was totally undaunted when he walked into the first meeting and found mostly middle-aged guys there - he's become a solid contributing member of the group. He can read a big fat book in a day if his mean mom doesn't tear him away from his book. He's wonderful with little kids and has become a sought-after babysitter. Nothing warms my heart like seeing him with one of his adoring little friends or siblings. He's an excellent public speaker and I was so proud of the excellent job he did as the MC and narrator of this year's Children for Children concert (and when people keep commenting to me how impressed they were with him). He knows what's going on in the world and has interesting opinions and great ideas that are uniquely his. He's cool and tough and fun yet sweet and smart and mellow. Sure, we're all dealing with the mood swings and surliness that comes with being a pre-teen, but all in all, Ashton is coming into his own quite beautifully. And I'm so glad to catch glimpses of the man he is becoming.

Here are a few favorite shots of Ashton over this past year:

On Antelope Island for Memorial Day
with cousin Emmaline at Bear Lake

getting his Arrow of Light award back in February
Ashton's end-of-the-year school party with some of his best friends from last year
Results of a lego-building marathon led by Ashton
playing his guitar and earning money at the Farmer's Market (with a lap-top screen saying "tips appreciated")
hanging out with the family downtown (did this a lot this year)
hanging out with his revered Grandfather and his not-so-revered little brother
Ashton's pumpkin this year reflected his interest in cyclops and all mythology thanks to the Lightning Thief series
Ashton out in the middle of the Spiral Jetty in the Great Salt Lake
With one of his fans - our little neighbor
Ashton with family and friends ready to do some indoor sky diving today

I love this boy of mine.

Happy Birthday, Ashton. Here's to all that you are and all that you are becoming. We love you so much!


Jonah and Aja said...

We love him.

Eyrealm said...

What a guy! What a mom to find time to blog as well as make his day spectacular. How we love this young man!

emily ballard said...

Happy Birthday to Ashton! I love what you said about children being seedlings, not lumps of clay. And I also love that Ashton joined a magic club :)

Thanks for letting Rachel and Lucy go with you to iFLY. Rachel came home ready to do all sorts of extra jobs around the house because she wants to go with Eliza in February.

shawni said...

Such a great boy that Ashie! Sure love him.


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