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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson

A Birthday Post for Nash

Updated: Mar 10, 2021

Happy Birthday, Baby Nash!

Of course, I know you can’t read this. And even if Mama or Daddy think to read it out loud, you’ll likely be too busy going about your business of exploring and tasting your lovely little world to pause and listen with rapt attention to Nana’s pretty tribute. Oh, well. Someday maybe. When you’re older. Which is to say, if this blog-site still exists when you’re grown to manhood, and you happen to stumble upon archives of these family blog stories, and you’re curious enough to wonder what your old grandma (who will certainly be ancient by then) found to ramble on and on, for years and years, about. Maybe. But likely not.

Alas. The years will fly fast, Nashy-Boy. Even this one year you’ve been alive, which has been without a doubt the weirdest year most of us old people could have ever imagined. You were born one week before the world shut down, sort of. There was this virus. I’m sure you’ll hear all about it when you’re old enough to listen, how you were born during the year of COVID-19. Not that you cared. And not that it really even mattered for you. In fact, all things considered, it was to you, a boon. I mean, getting to have Mom and Dad all to yourself and your sister every day for the first several months of your earliest existence? Who could complain about that? All those extra snuggles, and it’s no wonder you’re the cuddliest guy this family has known, for two generations. Which reminds me—can I ask a favor? Could you just NOT outgrow that exquisite habit you have of tucking your round little face into the lower part of my Nana-neck?

Papi thinks you like him best, just after your Daddy and your Mama. Is this true? I mean, even I will admit there seemed to be just hint of legitimacy to his claim when we visited you those first few times when you were tiny. (Legitimacy is a big word, isn’t it? What I mean is, there was a wee bit of truth to what Papi said.) On those few occasions when you’d get a bit fussy (it happened way more back then than it does now) and Maisy would look at me and say, “Nash sad,” and your granddad would snatch you up, there did seem to be a sort of magic. So yes, he did have a knack. The thing is, he’s pretty much an expert when it comes to boys. Because, you know, your daddy is the oldest of five guys, and in this family, we do know a thing or two about the male-folk.

However. I’m pretty sure your Papa Ruf does NOT think Papi Anderson gets to hold the “favorite” title all to himself. (For that matter, neither does Mimi, or Nana.) After all, you’ve spent the last four months of your first year of life living in Papa Ruf’s basement. And I’m not sure if you’ve noticed yet—but you will before long—Granddad Ruf makes the COOLEST toys. And as much as Maisy might one day brag to the kids at school about her Papa’s woodworking skills, she will quickly grow bored with all those tractors and locomotives. But you, son, will think they are The Bomb (or whatever coolness expression is trending by then.) And I tell you this for a very important reason. Because your Papi is a very competitive guy. (A whole lot like your daddy.) And if someday it seems like your Anderson Gramps is trying a bit too hard, I give you permission to just say NO to that very dangerous whatever-it-is he’s rigged up at the lake to make you think he’s the Grandpa of Fun. And I sigh… Because I already know it’s no use. You will follow that guy around like a devoted little puppy and I’ll have to look the other way, and do my level best to hold my tongue, but you can be sure inside my quiet head I’ll be praying LOUD.

But Nana will be fun too. Just a different kind of fun. You and I will read stories together on the old dock swing, and Nana is not afraid of a bit of adventure when it comes to a good book. And we will go on long walks in my favorite woods, and when there’s snow on the ground and we’re not quite sure what made those particular tracks, we will be BRAVE together. And I will be sure you notice every sunrise and sunset, and when the sky is clear we’ll go out into the pitch black night, and we’ll look up together and be amazed by all those stars.

So Nash. When you hear people talk about how 2020 was such a bad year, don’t you listen. It was the best year ever, because it was the year we got YOU. And not only were you born into our family, but you moved back home to all of us here in Minnesota, this year, 2020. And next week—just one week after you celebrate your first birthday—you’ll get to move into your own brand-new house in the very same hometown where your Daddy was a little boy. Which is a very good place to grow up.

But no hurry. To grow up, that is. Last I saw you, which was less than two weeks ago, right before our trip to Colorado, you were standing like a little champ, and now, just like that, you’re walking. No hurry, either, to grow hair on that adorable bald head, or to fill that precious little grin with too many teeth. No hurry to think you’re too old for snuggles, or to stop being curious about every tiny thing that crosses your path. Because right now is PERFECT. And you are perfect just the way you are. The perfect amount of busy and content. The perfect amount of cuddle and play. The perfect combination of looking both like your Mama and your Daddy.

You see, all of us grownups like to play this crazy game of “guess what Nash will be like someday.” Maybe you’ll have Mama’s squinting eyes and Daddy’s round head. Maybe you’ll play ball, or play music. Have you noticed how Nash can already keep a beat? (True enough.) Probably you’ll be a big eater like your dad, and likely you’ll be a tad more quiet than your big sister. No doubt you’ll be a lover, and most likely a competitor, too. All this guessing. But guess what?

It doesn’t matter. Because whoever you turn out to be, and whatever it is you decide you like to do, and whomever you choose to be your favorite—

We will love you.

Because you are our Nash.

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