Matt’s 21st birthday is January 12. I wrote the following in the summer of 2014 on a day of his own choosing – his own “coming of age.” I posted it on Facebook then, but thought on this, his 21st birthday, would be an appropriate way to celebrate his very special day. He has been talking about this birthday for about three months!
For as long as I can remember, I have put Matt to bed. Leann would gladly do this I know. It has just, for some reason, become a special time for me and Matt, and so Matt protects it from outsiders (including MOM).
The ritual goes like this: Matt lays down in his bed, I brush his teeth and then cover him up and lay beside him and tell him a story: “Once upon a time there was a SWEEET little boy named Matt Steinhauer – He was the SWEEETEST Little boy! He had a Mom and a dad, and a sister named Kerra and a sister named Lindsay. EVERYBODY loved him! Mom loved him, Dad loved him, Kerra loved him, Lindsay loved him, EVERYBODY loved him.
“One day, Matt woke up – it was a Tuesday…..”
The story has always simply been a recap of what I know about what he did that day. On June 22, 2014, I was waiting on Matt to get in his bed. So I knew this day would come…when Matt would, in his self-awareness, “grow up.” With about an hour and a half left on the day of the Summer Solstice, Matt walked into his room at bedtime and said: “I’m not Little Matt anymore.”
Having spent the previous couple of hours looking at pictures of Lindsay across the years, as I constructed the video for her wedding reception that would happen in a few days, I was already what one might call “on the emotional edge.”
He said again, “I’m a guy, I’m not Little Matt.” I’m “tall Matt.” I confirmed that he was indeed getting tall, and that we really called him “Little Matt” to help people tell the two of us apart. But really it was that I am “Old Matt,” and he is “Young Matt.” “Would that be okay?”
“Yes!” was his immediate reply. Holding my breath I asked him, “Now that you are “young Matt” and not “little Matt,” do you still want me to tell you a story?
“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” Julian of Norwich