Happy 13th Birthday, Choo Choo!

I no longer have any children. I only have teenagers.

Actually, to be fair, I seem to have a teenager and a vastly underaged adult. And Choo Choo, you already know which one you truly are.

There have been so many times over the last few years – especially over COVID – when your mother and I have been caught off-guard with your sudden too-wise-for-your-years wit and humour, only to be reminded moments later that you are, in fact, still a child. Even if you are rapidly approaching my height.

I don’t envy the place you’re in right now, being stuck between the expectations of “childhood” and the knowledge of the path ahead of you, blazed by your predecessors (and partially set on fire by your sister).

To anyone on the streets who might see you, you’re a hoodied, toqued, aloof teenager. But to us, certainly to me, you’re still my Little One. For all your cynical and macabre humour, you still care deeply for Asia (our cat), and despite all the things that your sister does to you, I’m pretty sure you like her … or at least tolerate.

I wish I could say that I knew where you would go in the years to come. It might have been clear to me a few years ago, when I was convinced that you were going to be a veterinarian, but now it’s only clear that you haven’t really made up your mind, that there’s so many other places you can look, so many other places you can go.

A year ago, we were getting ready to board a plane for London. We’ll be doing the same again in a few days. I wish we could have done the same thing, leave today, on your birthday. It wasn’t feasible this year due to school scheduling, though.

Right now, you’re downstairs with one of your friends, Masa, watching Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (although the Telus app calls it “Sorcerer’s Stone”). I was there, plugging away at my desk (desperately hunting for a relatively inexpensive soundbar for my desk that supports Dolby Atmos and Airplay, but that’s definitely out of budget for now) and while I really wanted to write this blog entry, I knew that my steady clacking was going to disturb the two of you from being able to quote every other line (sniff I am so proud you do this), so I left you to the magic.

Thirteen. Some say it’s an unlucky number, but I think it’s freeing, at least for you. You’re officially a teenager, no longer a mere “child”, and you’re more able to step out from under that shadow that’s been over you for so long.

Happy birthday, Choo Choo!