They say it’s your birthday

We all love our kids and I am no exception.  While I can hardly believe that my son, Nate, turns sixteen today, I struggle about just the right sort of blog post to honor this event.

I’m quite sure that Nate would not much care for a public trip down memory lane.  I can hardly count the number of times this year when we’ve been having some sort of dust-up over video games, or sibling conflict and he’s angrily said, “You’re not going to write about this in your blog are you?”

My own mom called to wish Nate a happy birthday yesterday, but he was still hurt over some highly impaired grand-parenting behavior during their last trip out.  He wasn’t the nicest to her and she knew he was still angry, but then Andy, Nate and I talked it over and he decided to call back and have a real conversation with his Buby.  I felt so proud that he could express his hurt, stick to his guns, clear things up and then honestly tell her that he does not carry any more resentment now and really loves her.  And he’s sixteen.

During that conversation I overheard him say to his somewhat difficult Buby, explaining his side of things, “I’m sixteen now.  I know a little bit about what goes on in the world.”  He also said in defense of something she was asserting, “I talk to my dad about stuff and he talks to me.”  Even if Nate and I skirmish now and then, it moved me to hear him valuing and defending our relationship.  To sit beside my son as the sun set on his fifteenth year and overhear half a conversation in which we worked stuff out with my mother was one of those small things that looms fantastical all the same.

The main thing that Nate took his Buby to task on was bad-mouthing his Zayde (even if his behavior had been hurtful).  Nate’s reasoning is that you should not pass off responsibility, and you shouldn’t trash talk your partner, later saying to me, “I’m sure people do that, but who does that?”  Nate speaks his truth and I really respect and admire him for it.  He also has a very good heart, saying that Buby ended up crying on the call when he said he loved her, and that “it turns out she’s even more sentimental than me.”

I cannot possibly sum up this last year, much less the last sixteen years, and I don’t even want to.  My favorite moment last week was driving Nate and Will home from school when they started speaking Spanish together.  At first Nate made a snarky comment and Will countered, “I’m only in seventh grade Spanish,” but then they launched into an actual conversation en Espanol.  I had no idea what they were saying, and when I suggested that this was definitely a way that they could talk about things they didn’t want Andy and I to know about they both loved this idea.

When I suggested that they could teach me a little Spanish they eagerly jumped in, wanting to tell me conjugations and then quiz me on them.  But after a couple of minutes they realized that they should not teach me, because then I would know what they were talking about.  To be left in the dark as both my kids had a moment of kind and playful bonding—nothing could be better.

Nate is a good egg.  He’s a good friend to his friends, and his friends are really nice kids.  He’s hoping to volunteer in a classroom with autistic kids this summer at the very clinic where I once worked as a therapist and supervisor.  Life goes full circle in so many ways, and all of our myriad and infinitely complex interconnections never cease to amaze me.

So, please join me in sending love and good wishes to Nate, as I do in my heart for all your kids—wishing them all health, happiness and authentic adherence to their true Selves… in the benefit of each other and all our collective children.

Namaste, Bruce &



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9 Responses to “They say it’s your birthday”

  1. Andy Says:

    Hey, I’ll be the first to hop in and say Happy Birthday Nate! I love you more than ever! Your Red Velvet Cake is in the oven.

  2. goofdad Says:


    I’m even having a party today … it’s for my birthday and my sister’s. We’re turning significantly older.

    ¡feliz cumpleaños!

  3. Kristen @ Motherese Says:

    Enjoy your birthday, Nate! And all my best wishes for a happy and healthy year ahead.

  4. Corinne Says:

    Happy Birthday Nate 🙂

    He sounds like an incredible kid. I’m so moved by his ability to speak openly and from his mind regarding his Buby. You’ve done well, my friend.

  5. Natalie Says:

    Happy birthday, Nate! Sixteen is a pretty awesome age as long as you don’t take yourself too seriously – and it sounds like you don’t, so live it up.

    And Bruce, I gave you a blogger award. Just cuz. 🙂

  6. privilegeofparenting Says:

    Nate and I thank you all for such kind words. It’s midnight and I’m fading, but Nate and his friends are still going strong (and that’s the way it ought to be).

  7. Randy Says:

    Happy Birthday Nate! You don’t know me, but you (and my son) give me incredible hope for the upcoming world. It’s so much harder to be sixteen now than when I turned that age. So much more to contend with, some of which did not even exist when I became that age. Thanks for dealing with erlationships honestly. This helps the whole world, though the whole world is not your responsibility. Enjoy your time!

  8. krk Says:

    Happy birthday to Nate , who quite obviously is Great.

  9. Katrina Says:

    Happy Birthday Nate, a few days late! Sending love and good wishes to you. Although you don’t know me, I am so happy to know of you and the ways in which you emanate honesty, responsibility, authenticity and kindness. Here’s to you and 16!

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