Every year, just before the globe celebrates the most important birthday in the history of the universe, we commemorate another one that's pretty special over here in Patty-Land.
Because during the first week of every December, I am reminded of the very happiest day of my life, bar none: the birthday of my son Kyle.
It was actually quite a snowy day back in 1999 when he first began indicating a strong desire to come on out and enjoy this big, bright world of ours. And boy, oh, boy did it take a while to meet him. Actually, several years - but that's all broken water under the bridge.
Speaking of which, a word to the wise for those fellas whose wives are expecting, if I might? Do not, I repeat do not, ask a woman in the early stages of labor if she's "absolutely sure" her water broke and if you "really, seriously need to leave for the hospital right now" because it's "the middle of the night and the baby isn't due for another two-and-a-half weeks" and you're really tired and zzz ...
If you do this, something else may break - right on top of your noggin. Ask Kerry. Either way, that sure was a crazy day when my Kyle made his big debut. Yep, one crazy, scary, wonderful, miraculous snowy day in December.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, on this December day, I am the mother of a teenager.
I don't know why you're laughing. I don't think it's that funny. In fact, I didn't think I could be more afraid than I was that first day we brought the baby home in his little knapsack of a car-seat carrier, staring down at his perfect tiny face and saying, "Dear God in heaven, what on earth do we do now?"
But I was wrong, people. I'm afraid. Very afraid.
Teenager. The word alone sends shivers down the spines of parents the world over. Frankly, if I have one more relative or friend who's already had the distinct pleasure of living with a teenage boy say "Ooh, good luck with that. You know he'll be driving soon" or some similar threatening remark, they're going to be orbiting the moon with Alice Kramden, OK?
I'm terrified enough of all the voice changing and facial hair and girlfriends, oh my! I am simply not ready for what follows. I have never been more serious. I would like to request a rewind, please.
Just for a wee bit, could we go back to that magical time when Mommy was the reader of the bedtime stories and the keeper of the cookies and the knower of all things?
I mean, when did my baby shoot up taller than his mother and start using Axe body spray and needing privacy for phone conversations? Did I say phone? Oh, that implies two humans corresponding verbally utilizing some type of audio device. Oh, no, no. Of course I meant text messaging.
See? See how incredibly stupid and out of touch I am? No wonder my son has me slither down past the steering wheel as I'm dropping him at the door for swim practice.
Gone are the days when I was the dancing queen leading a conga line around the family room to the music during the credits of "Shrek." Past are the moments when my singing of ELO's "Telephone Line" was soothing enough to coax a fussy baby to sleep. Evaporated are the times when Mickey Mouse and Mommy were all a boy needed in the world to be happy.
And just when I was about to completely dissolve into a pool of my own self-pity, the strangest thing happened.
"Mom, you wrote this? It's incredible, like, really, really good," said Kyle after reading my 2011 Christmas column, which had been lying around the coffee table by happenstance.
"You are so talented - and the best mom in the world, seriously," he said before giving me an old-fashioned bear hug. And just like that, I was transported back to 2002 and flashed to a reading of "Guess How Much I Love You?" by Sam McBratney, which was then our favorite bedtime book.
And happy birthday, Kyle. I love you all the way up to the moon - and back. "Infinity!"
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist and ridiculously proud mom. Contact her with adoring words about Kyle at firstname.lastname@example.org.