Today you are ten.
This means that you have spent six and one-half years WORKING ON MY NERVES. I would like to say that I'm kidding, but I think we both know that I'm not.
My first memory of you is you hiding behind Jason's legs because you were too embarrassed to meet me. My next memories of you are of how willing you were to hold my hand and sit in my lap, how close we became so quickly. I never could figure out if you were just that starved for female attention or if you just liked the idea of pissing off your mom. And what I'm saying here is that you have always been a person who liked to piss people off, but originally you chose to use me to piss others off instead of just going right for pissing me off. That's what kind of smart little bugger you are.
Jude, you are one of the most difficult, stubborn boys I have ever known, and that is saying a lot because I've known drug-users and alcoholics, womanizers and habitual liars, narcissistic pricks and fellows who were totally out of touch with reality, and you are more difficult than any of them. In some ways this is a compliment, but mostly this is just me saying OH WOULD YOU JUST GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK ALREADY. We have butted heads on more than once occasion, from the subject of sticking your hands down into the Brita pitcher (WHY do you need to put your hands INSIDE of it, anyways?) to licking the knife before putting it BACK IN the jar of peanut butter to whether or not to pick up your socks and whether it's okay to wear the same shirt seven days in a row when you have used that shirt to wipe jelly off the counter. IF I LIVE TO SEE YOU GRADUATE HIGH SCHOOL IT WILL BE A GODDAMNED MIRACLE, last night your actions took me to the point in which I hit myself in the head with a gallon of milk, who's to say that next time it won't be a rubber mallet instead of a large dairy product.
When you were little you would lie in bed until midnight or one in the morning making car noises and monster noises and explosion noises and sticking your feet and hands in the air, ANYTHING to PLEASE GOD STAY AWAKE JUST FIVE MORE MINUTES.
You would also drink icees until you threw up blue. We've moved on from that to a constant "Can I have an apple? Can I have some chips? Can I have a banana? Can I have a popsicle? Can I have a fried egg? Can I have some Coke? Can I have a sandwich? What's for dinner?"
Dude, I don't have a clue what you're going to do when you grow up- BMX biking? Professional skateboarding? The newest member of the wonderful team that stars in Jackass? And when I say that, I'm not calling you a jackass; the stuff they do on that show is the kind of shit that you declare is the awesomest, the sickest, the most insanely crazy cool shit you've ever seen. You begged for the poster out of my Misfits cd and lately you've been asking questions about the Ramones and listening to Green Day on the iPod: your future is fuck-all, I cannot begin to divine what kind of person you will be as you get older, smarter, and more daring. You are the PUNK ROCKINEST, sneering little ne'erdowell that I've ever known, except for that little foray into chick flicks and Britney Spears, but we'll just forget about that.
I know that we haven't always gotten along, and I know that you've been disappointed by my lack of cool-stepmomness and my overabundance of YOU'LL DO WHAT I TELL YOU. I have sometimes worried that when you're a grown-up you will look back on all of this and hate me for being so tough on you. I am hoping that instead what Lindsey has said is true: that you will look back on this and love me for caring, for trying to teach you about manners and morality and sympathy and empathy, that you will realize that, while I could have been cooler and more laid-back and more worried about pleasing you, I chose the tougher route which was to give a shit about what kind of person you would end up being. I have high expectations of you and I am not afraid to let you know about it because, otherwise, how will you ever have high expectations of yourself? You cannot fool me into thinking that it is too hard for you to clean your room or pick up your socks or put your dishes into the dishwasher, just like you cannot fool me into thinking it's unfair for you to have to share with your brothers or give your dad a chance to do something other than kissing your butt 24 hours a day.
That sucks, right? THAT IS THE ONLY WAY I KNOW HOW TO DEAL WITH YOU WITHOUT GIVING YOU A KNUCKLE SANDWICH AND HAVING YOU FITTED FOR A MUZZLE. You just sit down and be thankful that you haven't quite pushed me that far yet. And also don't forget to change your shorts. GAH.