Ian at Thirteen


On January 5th, 2002, on a day much like today, Ian was born, bringing breath and breadth to this month that has always seemed lifeless in its bony thinness, in its grays and sharp angles.

I could say that on his birthday flowers nudge their little seed heads closer to the surface. This is what my heart sees and I wish it was so because January is so cold.

Just last night, late, the house was creaking with sneaky footsteps, pausing in the hallway, resuming in the living room, moaning from the rafters.

Finally, Ian and Pook were in bed. Already we were down to seven hours before morning wake up time.

“Mama?”, Ian called out.

“Yes, Doll?”

“Hi.”, he said.

“Hi.”, I said.


“Yes, Doll?”

“Will you go check the house?”

“No.” I said, “There’s an eighty degree difference between the outside temp and the inside temp. Everything creaks with that kind of battle.”.


“Yes, Doll?”

“What was that sound?”

“It sounded like a meteorite and breaking glass.” said Pook.

“Will you come in here?”

There we were, the four of us– Ian, Pook, me, and Betty, who was sprawled and oblivious across the center of the bed. I took a spot at the bottom. The family bed, I thought, just like in the old country. Except I don’t have an old country and this was not very comfortable.

“You guys REALLY have to go to sleep. Right now we’re looking at 6 and a half hours of sleep.”

“I’ll charge my batteries at school. I’ll use my regenerative brakes.” said Ian. I don’t know what this means so I say, “Maybe you can but I can’t.” and I go back to my room.

Midnight passes. Birthday wishes are shouted between rooms. Pook watches Ian carefully, waiting for him to become a tragic teenage mutation of himself.

Pook finally falls off to sleep.


“Yes, Ian?”

“I’m just going to get up and check the house.” This is how he passed from boy to teenager.

4 thoughts on “Ian at Thirteen

  1. Another perfectly packaged piece of life and so amusing and reassuring. Ian’s gonna be a fabulous adolescent. I personally love two-year-olds and teenagers best.

  2. Remembering the day Ian was born brought me to tears last night. I was all right up until that moment. I pray God lets me live long enough to watch this wonderful child grow to full adulthood.

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