Twelve.

The big one-two.  Yep, Vincenzo is two hands worth of fingers plus two toes old.

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This year when I looked back at pictures of V in the hospital I didn’t so much notice how little V was but how young Kevin and I looked.

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I used to be able to reach back and pull that time up to sit on my lap, but it’s a bit far away now–more like a fairy tale book, and it’s one of my favorite books to read.  It’s the book about the young and in-love couple who had lived a charmed life, who one day found themselves with a perfect, dimpled, blue-eyed baby boy in their arms, and this baby filled their kingdom with colors that hadn’t even been invented yet.  No one could look at that baby without smiling, so everywhere the baby went he left a wake of smiles behind him.  It was a happy, peaceful time. 

I miss those simple days where we would put Baby Vincenzo in the middle of the floor and watch him instead of watching TV.

Over time, though, we began expecting the baby to do more, like  pick his underwear off the floor and spell the word “friend” and say his "R’s" clearly and to just take a friggin’ shower already!!

Of course, we still sit around and watch him, only it’s often while huddled under an umbrella and bouncing around to keep warm while Vincenzo happily plays soccer in the middle of a downpour.  He runs off the field after the game and says, "That was perfect soccer weather!"

Vincenzo is hard to explain to others.  He is calm and reserved but also ridiculously silly.  He can spend an entire day alone in his room reading books or he could spend it playing laser tag with 20 of his closest friends.  He has a quiet confidence about him and also an unchecked immaturity.  He’s friends with everyone he knows, yet he’s not a quote-unquote popular kid.  He is so dichotomous he even wears non-athletic clothes on the top half his body and athletic clothes on the bottom half.

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He is both this…

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And that.

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But one thing is certain: Vincenzo is happy being who he is in whatever minute of life he’s in.

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This is, of course, his favorite kind of minute to be in.

Or maybe this one.

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Vincenzo sees how much I do for him and his brothers and wants to help.  "I can do that for you, Mom."  He probably can’t, but it’s cute that he thinks he can and wants to help.  Sometimes he actually does help; it’s just that Vincenzo has spent so much time with his head in a book that he still doesn’t know where we keep the peanut butter in the house.  (MIDDLE DRAWER TO THE RIGHT OF THE CORNER CABINET.  SERIOUSLY.)

He’s afraid of spiders.  I mean, he really hates spiders, and because of that the spiders love him more than anyone in our family.  He’ll be sliding his hand along a railing and his hand will bump into a spider the size of a mouse.  He goes to put his shoes on and there is a spider in them, and on closer investigation it’s actually one spider carrying a second, dead spider around.  He goes swimming and finds a brown spider on the bottom of the pool and we tell him it’s probably dead, so he goes down to check it out and the spider starts scrambling away from him.  On the bottom of the pool!  He has so many close encounters with spiders that some people have started calling him Spiderman.

The biggest part of Vincenzo is his heart, and as much as he hates spiders, he never wants them killed.  He wants them put outside, by someone other than himself, of course.

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I love this sweet boy of mine who takes his role as oldest brother seriously, but not too seriously.  I love how he laughs at himself; I love that he is so chill he has to go sit in the freezer to warm up.  While I fret and worry about possible perils he might face each day at middle school, Vincenzo walks calmly out the door and into the gigantic world–one small boy heading out to face humanity with a cheerful smile.  He looks back at me and despite my worries, I can’t stop myself from smiling back at him.

There goes Vincenzo, plowing steadily forward, still leaving behind that beautiful wake of smiles.

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WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Minestrone soup
Fresh bread
Steamed broccoli
Chocolate peanut butter pie

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