Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Felix's birthday

Felix looked at my blog yesterday and pointed out there was no mention of his recent birthday. (fyi it's May 6th as I write; Felix's 12th birthday was May 3rd.)

He's right; there should have been. Happy birthday, gorgeous boy! I was thinking that because we did so much already in person the blogosphere didn't need it but this is a different place from our house, our yard, the neighborhoods and places where we celebrated.

First, though, a tiny wrap-up: Friday we celebrated with the larger family, and broke the German taboo against celebrating early (it's called vorfeiern, precelebrating I guess, and it ISN'T DONE, just like crossing, as a pedestrian, a street that is completely empty in every direction, at 2 a.m. any day, or 9 a.m. Sunday, or any other time for that matter, ISN'T DONE).* [see clarifying P.S. below]

We had a grand time, and almost-two-year-old Fanny sang "Happy Birthday to you" to Felix along with the rest of us (that's the song you sing at birthdays in Germany, just like in the States we sing "Feliz Navidad" [which Felix, understandably, used to think was pretty much written just for him]).

Then Saturday Felix had buddies over for a poker party and a trip to Subway and a Subway cookie platter to bring home (the Subway nearest to us here in Berlin recently closed, but there is another one in the heart of what used to be downtown and is now still our closest downtown, right at the U-Bahn Ku'damm and super-close to the twin Memorial Churches) and a showing of Zoolander and a sleepover (and singing and a cake), and his buddies stayed through midday Sunday, and Sunday afternoon the four of us celebrated (and there was singing and a cake), and later Sunday Fanny and her family had us back over a. to see their new apartment and b. to celebrate all over again (with singing! and a cake!) because, it turned out, Friday really didn't count because it was Vorfeiern, which ISN'T DONE. Oh well.

This hasn't really been about Felix that much yet, has it? If you know Felix, you know he's Mr. Resilience, Mr. Energy, Mr. Bounce and Bounce Back. I think he's also Mr. Drop-Dead Gorgeous, Mr. I Love Just Looking at You, but then I'm his mother, I'm exceedingly biased. This year, being thrown into a sixth-grade class of kids speaking German, Felix has needed all of his bounce and resilience and I believe they've served him well. He also has had a chance to explore the listening part of his personality more, much more, as he gets used to the language, and even at home where English is often spoken I think he's acquired some of what they call Sitzfleisch here, the "flesh to sit with", the ability to sit still at least a little longer than he used to be able to do.

So here we have the twelve-year-old version of my younger son. A little wiser about the world, a little leaner and longer, still bright-eyed and bouncy, very keen about soccer, money, and, increasingly, interested in the world of adult conversations about politics, philosophy, how the world works, . . . sometimes we don't even realize he's listening to the conversation and then he throws in a sharp observation or a very apt joke.

Happy birthday, my son! Thanks for reading my blog, and thank you, very much, for the enormous amounts of pleasure you bring to us with your energy, and your affection, and your curiosity. I'm looking forward to version 13.0, which started 3 days ago and is looking pretty good!

* [P.S. a couple days later - in response to a curious reader: sorry, let me clarify: you don't get to cross the street until and unless your little pedestrian green light goes on; you don't have to stand there forever, just until the light goes on. What amazes and amuses the casual or not-so-casual visitor from, say, Bloomington, Indiana, is that pedestrians seem to be considered, and consider themselves, every bit as much part of the whole traffic thing. So confronted with a red pedestrian light (there are red and green pedestrian lights at almost every crossing; maybe that is the first thing I should have pointed out) the pedestrians will stand and wait, regardless of how many kilometers in every direction there is nothing at all coming.]

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