Poem: It Takes One Night to Grow a Year Older

Celebrating Birthday

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It Takes One Night to Grow a Year Older

Off on the skateboard he goes

His lanky form in worn-out Vans

Tanks from Hawaii and hair

Thick like coconut husk

Only yesterday, he was pushing

The scooter, almost the same size

Up the incline, he puffed and yelled,

“Mom, a little push, please.”


Only yesterday, he was speedy Gonzalez,

A nickname from his soccer coach

His tiny feet the first to the ball

only to retreat when hunky legs

Descend to clamor, the ball to steal

Soccer years without goals

Yet years later, to come back and initiate

Underground soccer for the underdogs.

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Only yesterday, he was lying on his trampoline

Eyes to the sky, arms and legs spread

Like the early twinkling stars

“Mom, I’ve already spent one-eighth of my life,” that

From a boy who just celebrated his tenth birthday

If time could be caught between fingers

I’ll intertwine them and not let go.

Aaron, in middle school, who thinks it's cool to play a prank or two.
Aaron, in middle school, who thinks it's cool to play a prank or two. | Source
The summer before college--Luxemburg.
The summer before college--Luxemburg. | Source


Only yesterday, he cried

Spitting out vowels and consonants

A language foreign and hard

To squeeze years of learning into six short months

To make his father proud

The first to be bar-mitzvahed

He banged his computer and pulled his hair,

“I can’t do it. I can’t” formed the refrain

To the canter’s prayers

Only to read with poise

Hebrew prayers flowing

Like syrup from Log’s cabin.

As mothers gawked and friends wondered

At the half-Asian boy who wasn’t supposed.



If time could be caught between fingers

I’ll intertwine them and never let go.


Copyright 2011. All RIghts Reserved.

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It always amazes me how it takes just one night for a kid to turn a year older. For instance, your kid was eight the night you put him to sleep and the next morning, he magically turns nine on his birthday. While kids are generally happy to add more years to their young resume, as parents birthdays can get reflective. You turn around and your kid has lost those cute chubby cheeks. You turn around and your kid has lost his two front teeth and soon the lisping that comes with lost teeth is replaced with bigger stronger teeth and sometimes, a more sassy mouth to match. You turn around and your angel has become this smart-alecky kid who is not too keen to snuggle up with you and watch Disneyland movies. Before you know it, the little kid is all grown and driving himself to school.

They grow up too fast and if we don’t capture the moments, they slip away. Often, I find myself reflecting on the eve of my kids’ birthday and this poem is born out of that. It was the day before Aaron’s birthday and as I watched him scoot off on his skateboard to his friend’s house, I realized that the day after, he would be a full year older.

I thought about the milestones—there are many but this poem will show a few. I remember the time when he was almost the same height as his scooter and he still needed help pushing it up the hill. Then, for all his elementary school years, he was in the soccer league but he never really made an impact due to his small size—he was always afraid of the bigger stronger kids. Though he was exceptionally fast, he cannot match up in terms of size. He gave up when he went to middle school but the love for soccer never left him. In due time, when senioritis was at its peak, he formed the underground soccer for kids who love the game but are never really good enough to make it to any major teams. It was a success and as it turns out, he became quite formidable at the game too.

And how can I forget his Bar Mitzvah? Being half Jewish/half Asian, he falls in the middle. Some consider him Jewish but others are less ready to accept that classification. To make a long story short, when he was tested for his Hebrew understanding, he was reading at kindergarten level and he has 6 short months to learn what most Jewish kids were learning all along until their 13th birthday. The cantor warned us it would be daunting, if not impossible. At the end of the 6 months, he was awarded the most improved kid award and on the day of his Bar Mitzvah, he read with so much prose that even Jewish grandmothers were won over.

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Comments 24 comments

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 5 years ago from Canada

This is a heartfelt tribute from a proud mom anglnwu, your kids must love you so much. Regards, snakeslane. ps I don't have children, so really enjoying your 'mom's' point of view.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 5 years ago from United States

Kids grow up way too fast. My son was over tonight. He lives on his own now. Seems like just the other day he was learning to walk. Amazing.

I very much like the humor you put in this. Also the poem flowed nicely. Thank you.


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago

What a lovely poem. I enjoyed taking a peek into your sweet memories of your son. It sounds like he was a great kid and is now an exceptional young man. If my mom was to write a poem about me and my childhood, it might be called "Ode of a Brat."


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

snakeslane, thanks for being the first to comment. I totally appreciate your support. Glad you enjoyed it.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Tom, it means so much to me to have The Poet visit my hub,. Thanks for the positive feedback. Kids grow up too fast for my liking. Can we order a slow motion of the happy moments?


claptona profile image

claptona 5 years ago from Earth

Great stuff,

Nice poem and can empathize with the feelings.

To your continued success.

Cheers,

John D. Wilson


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 5 years ago from London, UK

Aaaawh beautiful Poem.

Kids grow fast. I tell my friends when they have kids. "One day you will blink and he will be tall - towering above you - your little baby".

Thanks for sharing this. May Aaron always bring you Joy.


tom hellert profile image

tom hellert 5 years ago from home

Ang,

Darn YOU now I'm thinkin about my sons getting older-i already feel old but they are getting older and now my daughter is 18!!!!

AAAAAGGGGGHHHHH darn you...for bringing me back to reality....I still sometimes think of her as the 4 yr old with long brown naturally curley hair... bouncing while she called out my daddy my daddy!!!.

nice un

TH


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Claptona, nice to see you here. Glad you can empathize with the feelings. Thanks again.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Om, if yours is an Ode to a Brat, mine must be an Ode to a shrinking violet. Thanks for commenting and I'm always happy to see you.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada

How lovely for you - and what a tremendous amount of work for your son! They grow up so fast. I look at my son, now 6'3" tall and cannot believe I ever help him in one hand. How marvelous are our children and what a lovely poem to celebrate their wonder.


habee profile image

habee 5 years ago from Georgia

I can totally relate. It seems my girls were just kids a couple of months ago, and now they all have kids of their own. I voted up this sad and sweet poem!

Handsome guy, BTW!


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Thanks, Lady E, yes, they grow up too fast for my liking. Thanks for your well-wishes and have a great weekend.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Tom, tell me about it--we both would love to stall time. Kids grow up too fast. I think the hardest part is realizing that as they grow older, they don't need us as much. Thanks for adding to this hub with your observation.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Redelf, thanks for dropping by to comment. I'm always grateful for motherhood--it taught me more about life than anything else.


Joyce S Harrell profile image

Joyce S Harrell 5 years ago

I know what you mean. Seems like yesterday I was bringing my 2 kids home from the hospital (not at the same time) and now they are grown. I just attended my nephew's wedding on Friday (first of the grandchildren to leave the nest), and it didn't seem possible that this tall (6'3") young man was the little baby I used to take for walks and hold in my arms. The years really do fly. Loved your poem. We really do have to take snapshots of the milestones and the everyday stuff before they go out on their own.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Habee, you said it well--sad and sweet. Thanks for the comments--my son will love the last one:)


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Joyce, thanks for sharing your personal experience and it just goes to show how time flies. Hate that cliche but how true. Thanks for adding to this hub with your sharing.


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

Wow...beautiful indeed!

Memories of a child growing up can become all mushy esp when the kid is all grown up.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Ruchira, I appreciate your comments--how true.


moiragallaga profile image

moiragallaga 5 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

Beautiful poem anglnwu, so touching and truly heartwarming. I have an 11 year old son myself and your point of how they are growing up and changing is so apt and strikes a chord within me as I'm going through those experiences myself. Love the mention of soccer, my boy also plays the sport.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Moiragallaga, thanks for your comments. Enjoy your son--eleven is a good age, before they turn too smart for us. Yes, soccer is a wonderful sports and I'm glad your son enjoys it. Thank you again for dropping by.


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 4 years ago from USA

I am kinda retired from HubPages, but today I visited and as if by a miracle sign I got to this hub of yours. Just weeks after celebration of my baby's 24th birthday.... He is 24, and I still remember the first time he looked at me with recognition (I swear) at 3 days old. He knew exactly that I was his mom, though there were so many people around him. "A boy who was born with a smile on his face", they say about him, indicating his character. We are blessed with our children for sure. All our time and attention that we invest in them is coming back now 10 fold return.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 4 years ago Author

Vera, so good to see you here. What a blessing--your son is precious, I have seen him on fb and he's such a darling. I'm glad that you've a special bond with Reuben. I think being a mother is one of the best things in the world. Thank you for commenting and all the best to you and Reuben.

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