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Katrina Willis "Table for Six"
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Ever since I can remember holding a pen, I remember writing. Words are my constant companion, my solace, my connection to humanity. I write because I must, but I also write to share a common experience. If one of my sentences makes you feel like you are not alone in this wide world, then I have done my job. We have so much to share as human beings, don’t we? Thank you for letting me share my words.
This Boy
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This Boy

May 22, 2013 | 03:56 PM

It's inconceivable that I had my last baby 11 years ago. For awhile, it seemed having babies was all I did. But today, my youngest hits Same-Double-Digits. (You've heard that story a million times, haven't you? My kids still like to taunt me with it, though. No one in this family forgets ANYTHING.)

11 on the 22nd. Double doubles.

We were looking through his baby book last night and giggling at the memories. I'd forgotten that Mary Claire called him JuJu, that she screamed, "No, baby, NO!" when he'd slobber on her things.

"I look like I'm drunk in this picture," he said. I laughed... and then did a little quick math in my head. Was I still breastfeeding then?

"You weighed 9 pounds, 2 ounces when you were born," I told him.

Nope. He weighed 8 pounds, 3 ounces.

"You were born around noon," I said.

Nope. He was born at 8:06 AM.

Such is the life of a fourth child. The memories are hazy, the details blurred, the baby book much thinner than the others.

But he is no less loved.

He shares sushi with Jenny and eats crawfish with Ben, he laughs at my mom's famous "Nana-isms" and loves and misses his best buddy, Ethan, with a vengeance. His Juilliard-educated violin instructor says he has perfect pitch, and his IQ is frighteningly high. So high that Mary (my friend, not my daughter) sometimes simply calls him by The Number. He's quiet around strangers, obnoxious around us. He's easily hurt and often put-upon. He's kind and gentle and patient with Jocey and is a little bit lazier than I'd like him to be. He argues and complains and hugs like he's never going to let you go. He's the only kid who will still hold my hand when we're sitting on the couch watching a movie. I love that he hasn't lost all of his naiveté and innocence even though he lives in the stinky shadow of his crass, sarcastic teenage siblings. He is exasperating and trying and uplifting and entertaining.

This boy of mine, he's 11.

My baby, growing up.

"You can't call me 'your baby' any more, Mom," he says. But I still do. And somewhere in a deep, dark corner of his big heart, I think he might still like it.

In his baby book, I found an autobiography penned on two yellow Post-It notes. It reads:

About My Life By: George Willis

Wen I wus born I wus confusd. I did not know ware I wus. I didn't know who eneboty wose. It wus werd. But now I am 7 yers old.

The end.

That's it.

When he turned seven, he learned it all. He stopped spelling phonetically, began memorizing the Periodic Table, and learned French just because he wanted to.

Here's to the next 11, Little Man. And the 11 after that and the 11 after that and so on and so forth.

We can't wait to see all the magic and wonder and promise you've yet to bring to this world.

Thanks for taking us along for the ride.


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