Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The First Year of Fred

Fred, my youngest beloved godson and nephew, turned one last week. His Uncle Bart and I were a little late getting his birthday gift to him, in part because I'm disorganized, but also because I was actually aiming for the gifts to arrive in time for this weekend's birthday party, which he will share with his big brother Louie, who's turning 3. Also I know Fred won't mind, partially because he's only 1, and partially because he's Fred.

He's a lovely easygoing soul. Most things delight him; those that don't mostly don't rattle him. The only recent photo I've seen of him crying (he lives in Wisconsin so I don't see him in person often) actually made me laugh, because it was identical to one of my own son at the same age: a stripped-down baby in a high chair, presented with his gaudily-decorated very first birthday cake, who touched the cake, got frosting on his hand, and burst into tears. It remains to be seen if Fred ends up as texturally-oriented as my son, who, as a toddler, wouldn't eat anything that stuck to his fingers.

Fred and I go way back. When he was a newborn we spent four days soaking up each other's company. He was especially fascinated with my eyeglasses, and would stare at them fixedly. Fred was a sturdy baby, absolutely determined to be as mobile as his big brother, so by the time of his baptism he was already sitting up by himself. He'd fall forward onto his belly and try to crawl. He looked like a stranded turtle.

At our Fourth of July party he was hoisting himself up onto our coffee table, balancing himself, and the letting go--standing, at nine months old. With my daughter holding his hands he walked a circuit of the house. He was still too young to have any real fear of strangers, but I like to think I wasn't a stranger to him. I still wore my glasses; now he grabbed them and laughed.

I won't make his birthday party--a pirate-themed party, because Louie loves the Disney character Jake, who is apparently a pirate (all the shows my children watched are gone--no more Bear In The Big Blue House, no more Blue's Clues--and there's a whole whack of new ones)--but I hope to see Fred soon. He's moving to Charlotte in a month, along with Louie and their mom and dad.

Odd to think that just over a year ago there was no Fred. What did we ever do without him?