FIVE


Archer Sage, age 5

A few weeks ago, I took Archer to get new shoes after school. Moments after entering the shoe store he disappeared around the corner and quickly, decisively returned moments later clutching a purple and orange high-top.

"These," he said. "I want these."

"Awesome. Done."

So we bought them, and out the store we went.

The next day Archer wore his new shoes to school, excited, he said, to show them to his friends.

"I bet everyone's going to think they're so awesome."

"Of course they will. Hello!"

Except they didn't.

"Nobody liked them," Archer said, getting into the car after school. "Nobody liked my shoes."

"What? Are they crazy? Those shoes are way the coolest!"

Archer shrugged. "I know," he said. Nobody likes them but it's okay mom. Know why? Because I like them? I think they're cool."


That was the last we ever talked about the shoes. He's worn them every day since. Happily and with pride even if the boys at school think "they're for girls because they're purple and boys don't wear purple! Girls do!"

At first I wanted to take credit for his ability to be unaffected by the criticism of his peers. But I could never do what Archer does. Even now, try as I might, I care what people think. Not as much as I used to, but its there. But not for Archer. Not even slightly.

It blows my mind. It blows my mind when he says things like this. It blows my mind that not two years ago he was just starting to speak. That he was timid and shy and unable to express himself vocally. It blows my mind that every night before bed, he tells ME a story. (Tonight's was about a turtle who moved his treehouse to Mercury.)


A few months back Archer said to me, "everyone's going in a different direction but know what? Everyone's trying to get to the same place."

He was referring to the cars at the four-way stop sign. But he was right. So completely and totally right and now? Whenever I find myself frustrated or angry at people, friends, strangers, even family - I remind myself that we're all going in different directions, trying to get to the same place. And then I feel better. Am able to empathize with people I used to misunderstand.

Archer does that. He empathizes and understands and guides and says crazy perceptive things that change the way I see myself and the world.



Today, Archer is five. An entire hand of years and time that has slipped by and slowed my every moment all at once. One. Two. Three. Four. Five.

My sadness mourning my baby gone can only be matched by the joy I feel watching him grow into a self-assured, life-loving boy. Every day he wakes me up with love and kindness and new ideas.

When I gave birth to Archer, I was suddenly changed. He changed me. He changes me. I tell him this all the time and he pushes me away, rolls his eyes, shakes his head. But then? He hugs me.

It's cliche for me to say I don't believe in fate and I don't, but Archer, for me, personifies the brilliance of the unexpected - the poetry in the unplanned. He is the unlikely path, unpaved. He is what it means to go with gut. To persevere no matter what people say. To change and grow and redefine. To follow LEAD one's heart. And looking at him, for me, means looking at what happens when life interrupts with beautiful knocking hands.
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I may hold his hand when we cross the street but the truth is? For the last five years it's been me in need of assistance from one side of the road to another. And Archer who has led me in all the right directions.

He is my shepherd. The bow to my arrow. The bearer of possibilities endless and good.


The other day, we were building Legos together and after five frustrating minutes of me looking for the hook he asked me to find, Archer threw up his hands and found it for me.

"What would I do without you?" I asked.

"Well?" he said. "You probably would have a hard time building a lego fort."


"That's true..."

"But don't worry, mom." he said. "I'm here to help you."

"Buggy?" I said. "You have no idea."

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Happy Birthday, Archer, sage. Thank you for giving me five.

GGC

88 comments:

-A | 12:16 AM

Happy Birthday Archer! I hope five is a wonderful year for all of you!

Anonymous | 12:40 AM

Happy birthday Archer!

he's one of the most special children I've heard of.
And he's said one of the more beautiful sentences I've heard in a child his age:
"we don't sleep well without each other"
referring to her sister :-))
you're doing things right
congratulations to both!

Your escalator operator | 12:51 AM

Happy half a decade... to a perceptive young fella.

Anonymous | 1:23 AM

Happy Birthday Archer...one whole hand!
This post made me cry. He is such an incredible kid. I LOVE the pics of him holding Fable's hand and the stories of their conversations and him caring for her and for you.
You have much to be proud of. He is very special and it is obviously due to the love from you and Hal.

Kara | 2:34 AM

Happy Birthday to Archer! You have an amazing son, Rebecca. :)

Cláudia | 3:05 AM

This is a hymn to life. Thank you, Rebecca. You're raising a kid that empathizes, I think that would make me the happiest, if I were a mom. Happy birthday to Archer!

sarah doow | 3:44 AM

Happy birthday to Archer.
The thought that everyone's going in different directions, but trying to get to the same place is going to stick with me.

clueless but hopeful mama | 4:21 AM

His eyes, and words, are so, so wise. Your pictures and post capture them both so, so well.

Adventures In Babywearing | 5:11 AM

What an amazing "sage" you have there... I agree so much that watching them become whom they are becoming is even better than the baby years. I am in awe of it every day.

Happy birthing day to you! And happy birthday to Archer.

Steph

PS if only everyone could have that same attitude
about the orange and purple sneakers...

My Bottle's Up! | 5:12 AM

oh goodness, rebecca, this has me in tears at 8 in the morning... so very beautiful. what a genuine and loving tribute to your sweet and kind-hearted archer.

for someone who doesn't "know" you but has read your words for a VERY long time, read the story of archer in your book, and watched your family grow, may i just say "HOLY SHIT YOU HAVE A 5 YEAR OLD" and "sending you all the best for continued happiness and contentment."

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ARCHER!!! you make your mother's eyes sparkle.

Redbonegirl97 | 5:16 AM

Happy Birthday Archer AND Mom. I think moms always deserve one too on the day their child was born, after all you did all the work. Glad you're son is marching to the beat of his own drum and not letting any take away his joy.

Peace, Love and Chocolate
Tiffany

GreerAnn | 5:25 AM

This. Is. Beautiful. And Archer will treasure these words one day. What a beautiful gift you have, both in your son and in your ability to recognize and articulate the wonder of motherhood. I LOVE reading your work. Even more so now that I am a mother to my own little wonder.

Maria | 5:34 AM

Readings this gave me chills. He's an old soul reborn.

Happy birthday Archer. :) I hope all of you guys have an amazing day.

Bethany | 5:43 AM

What a beautiful post. Happy Birthday Archer!

Caroline @ The Feminist Housewife | 6:32 AM

I absolutely love that independent spirit. I hope he never loses it! Happy Birthday!

mommymae | 7:03 AM

happy day to your lovely little boy! and you, mama. he's wonderful, as are you. celebrate the hand you've given each other.

Stef | 7:05 AM

That was lovely, Happy Happy Birthday Archer!

Jessica | 7:18 AM

Happy Birthday, Archer and many happy returns!

You have amazing children, Rebecca!

Anonymous | 7:42 AM

Happy birthday beautiful boy.

Peace~
Karen

Cheryl D. | 7:54 AM

What a beautiful post! He sounds like an amazing boy.

vertigob | 7:55 AM

Beautiful. Happy 5th birthday Archer. You are an amazing little man!

M. | 8:01 AM

What an amazingly profound little guy! Whatever it is that you've done to raise him to be such an articulate and openminded person, keep it up! Write a book about that!!! Happy 5th birthday Archer!

Allison Cross | 8:11 AM

I think Archer is an old soul. One day, I hope to have a son just like him.

Shoshanah | 8:17 AM

Happy Birthday to Archer!

Rebecca at Toothwhale | 8:22 AM

Happy fifth birthday, Archer! Happy birth day, Rebecca!

Still Life With Coffee | 8:39 AM

Lovely post. I just love the story about the shoes - what an awesome kid you have. <3

Candice | 9:00 AM

So sweet - this totally made me tear up as I sit here looking at my two week old son and realizing he'll be five one day... and hoping the times goes slowly, though I know it won't.

casadekaloi | 9:36 AM

OMG,omg.
I will never, ever forget when I won that coat contest and found that Jasper and Archer had the same due date. I was so excited, because I figured that would mean only good things for Jasper. Of course, Jazz decided that he preferred March over May, but so it goes.

I absolutely love your little man. I love your little lady as well, but I think, from what I have learned, blog-wise, that Archer is tremendous.

Happy Birthday, Archer!

mary | 9:48 AM

Happy Birthday Archer! Thank you for allowing you mommy to share so much of your special-ness with all of us.

sabrina | 9:50 AM

Happy Birthday Archer! I hope you have a great 5th year with many, many more to come!

I wish I had a great big brother like you.

Stef | 9:51 AM

Hahaha! Can I just point out how rad it is that you have a print of that pic of Hal-as-Bec with the kids in the yard hanging on your wall?

Happy 5th, Archer!

Anonymous | 9:53 AM

This was beautiful.

I liked how you handled getting the shoes...I know a lot of people would have said "no those are for girls" or something, to try to avoid him getting made fun of at school.

BUT I like how you handled it...and his learning how to say "Nobody likes them, but that's ok, because I like them" at a young age is an invaluable skill. I know people in their 20s who are not able to say that! Such a wise little one.

Good job GGC, you are a great mamma! :)

Sadie | 9:57 AM

That post was beautiful. One of your best. I'm in tears now. Thanks :)

Chula | 10:01 AM

Happy Birthday Archer!!!! You know what my son says when i say what would i do without you, " you'd probably die".

Glenda | 10:20 AM

Happer Birthday Archer! ahhh one whole hand! They grow up fast. Enjoy the journey with your children! I've enjoyed every second of every day with my son and daughter! We learn every day from our children, just like they learn from us.

Barbara | 10:54 AM

Happy birthday Archer! Lots and lots of love...

ohbabyo | 10:58 AM

Happy Birthday Archer!
Wasn't it just last week that I read "Four" and then forwarded the post to my husband because I loved it so? My boy is just about to turn one(!). It's astounding, heart-breaking, and beautiful to watch how fast they grow!

Susan @WhyMommy | 11:00 AM

Happy Birthday, Archer! Oh, the places you'll go....

Better | 11:46 AM

I have always loved your writing, in all its forms, as much as I adore your spirit and person.

I agree with one of your commenters above: this is one of your all time best pieces of writing.

Happy Birthday to sweet Archer.

Rebecca | 11:55 AM

Archer seems like such an amazing little boy. That kid is going places.

Happy birthday Archer!

Chelsea Robbins | 12:30 PM

tears in my eyes.

he's such a sweet sweet soul.

It's been fun to watch him get older, watch you pregnant with Fable and watch you as a mom.

you guys are wonderful.

Chel Rae @ Eu Te Amo | 12:32 PM

Brilliant. One of my favorite pieces on your site thus far. He is truly amazing and the reason why each of us hold out hope that parenting will be worth it. That even our biggest fears about how parenting will go or how we will be, they don't matter. Nothing matters but love and family.

Olivia Singleton | 12:47 PM

I find myself collecting Archer-isms. What an amazing little boy in every way.

robin | 3:36 PM

Beautiful. Both of you.

messyfunmommylife | 5:06 PM

This is such a beautiful post. Happy Birthday Archer.

I often look at the son that I have. He was un-planned and entered my life at a rather young age. But the lessons he has taught me. The life we have lived together has brought me farther that I could have ever come alone.

You are amazing at taking such un-explainable feelings and turning them into poetry.

Thank You.

High Five!

Schmutzie | 6:30 PM

Wow. He sounds exactly like the kind of kid this world needs.

A* | 7:23 PM

Makes me want one. But he would have to be JUST like Archer. Congrats on 5 Rebecca. He's amazing. Happy Birthday Archer!

Krista | 7:40 PM

Sweet, sweet, sweet.

Love reading your posts.

Your boys sounds amazing.

Happy Sunday and happy birthday to your baby!

pamela | 9:21 PM

finding your blog on the day i found out i was pregnant was one of those guiding moments for me. and then having my daughter on archer's birthday was even more telling. i want to thank you for guiding me through tough times and not even knowing that you were. and for giving us all a beautiful, if at times difficult, perspective on life as a young mother.

happy birthday to archer!!
and to my zoe too... she turned two today.

Anonymous | 10:28 PM

What a beautiful post. Archer is an amazing, wonderful boy. I love your writing style and spirit, Rebecca.

- From a longtime fan in Singapore (Ive even read yr book. Not available here, but thank goodness for Amazon) -

GingerB | 10:48 PM

You were made for each other! Happy Day!

dietplaid | 10:55 PM

Happy birthday to an amazing son! You're a lucky lady to have such a great kid!

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 11:07 PM

Thank you all for kind words and birthday wishes a plenty. Twas a grand, amazing day x 9291839817. xo.

Charlotte | 5:52 AM

Wow! Archer's one rockin' five-year-old!

Happy Birthday, Big Buddy!

And purple and orange hightops? Totally rad.

Amanda | 7:37 AM

What an appropriate middle name you've given him. Indeed a sage.

Happy Birthday Archer!!

the bellyacher | 7:48 AM

Happy birthday, Archer!! He shares a birthday with my son who turned ONE. I hope you all had a magical day. :)

Pres. Kathy | 7:48 AM

Happy Birthday! What a wonderful boy!

liz | 7:50 AM

Totally blubbing.

Sarahviz | 7:55 AM

Oof. My heart. My Baby boy turns Five next month.

Kristin | 9:09 AM

Beautiful pictures! Archer is lucky that he will have so many pictures to look at when he is older.

flyrish | 10:16 AM

A belated Happy Birthday to Archer! You've got one amazing 5-year-old, and I adore the way you write about him.

Anonymous | 10:27 AM

Wow, I feel lucky that this is the first post of yours I've read. Found you through Daddyscratches. Looking forward to reading your archives.
What a beautiul boy! Happy Birthday to both of you!!

Issas Crazy World | 10:44 AM

Happy 5th birthday to Archer.

I love five. It's a great age.

ps. love the new look.

Linda | 11:23 AM

Happy Birthday, Archer. What a wonderful, wonderful boy he is.
5 is such a lovely age, isn't it? Kids are so inquisitive, insightful at this stage. My almost 5 year old granddaughter told her Mommy the other day that "two women can marry each other". "It's like having a grown up teammate". awwwww
And just yesterday she was talking about "this guy called God", who "curated" all the people. And "did got meet the Indians?"

I think there's a lot to be learned from 5 year olds.

Charlie | 11:34 AM

I'm in the middle of reading your book, and its so awesome to see the little man grow so amazing. You're an inspiration to modern mommies everywhere! Keep up the good work!

Miss Tricky | 12:21 PM

"To follow LEAD one's heart."

(Okay, so it won't let me copy the strikethrough, but you know what I mean.)

I REALLY needed that. Thanks.

Happy Birthday Archer!

Anonymous | 12:43 PM

Post a pic of the shoes please. Happy Birthday Archer.

Chrissy Johnson | 1:29 PM

Five is quickly becoming my favorite age. Two was winning, but now, it's five. Their such beautiful, pure, little philosophers at this age. Mine is almost five and a half, and he fascinates me every minute.

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 2:18 PM

shoes = http://twitpic.com/1g4c8i

The Stetson Family | 3:11 PM

Tell him the Lakers wear purple and orange and they are going to win the NBA FINALS. Men among Men.

And also happy birthday!

boosmom10 | 3:18 PM

Happy Birthday Archer! It has been so fun watching you grow and learn. I think you are a brillian young man and can't wait to hear more Archerisims. :-)

He is so smart and wise for being so young. Y'all are a blessed family!

May your life continue to be happy and full.

Ray | 3:46 PM

"A few months back Archer said to me, "everyone's going in a different direction but know what? Everyone's trying to get to the same place."

That's amazing. Your little boy is awesome.

Happy 5th Birthday, Archer!! =D

alyce | 3:50 PM

Happy Birthday to Archer!

Also, have kids in his class never heard of the Los Angeles Lakers? Some of the fiercest purple-wearing dudes ever. The Lakers would love his purple shoes!

Joann | 4:14 PM

A VERY Happy Birthday Archer....you're the man!!!!

Baby in Broad | 4:46 PM

That is one awesome boy you have there. Good job, mama! Happy Birthday, Archer!

Mrs. Q. | 5:17 PM

Happy Birthday, Archer! How on earth are you FIVE? That's a whole hand!

My little guy just turned five this month, too, and I'm still shaking my head. It's when I was new new mom and happy and lost and started reading this blog, and well? Awesome.

The Hojo Family | 5:57 PM

Happy Birthday to Archer! Glad you guys had an amazing day!!

And I LOVE those shoes!!!

TeenMama | 8:50 PM

Wow. Maybe he's going to be a writer, like his mama. It's amazing how perceptive children can be, but he sounds particularly so -- and also eloquent, and funny, and gutsy. He sounds amazing is what I'm trying to say.

I'm happy for you.

emily bilbrey | 9:09 PM

happy birthday to beautiful archer! AMAZING post, mama - managed to make me cry even with my husband blasting "24" in the background! (:

such a lovely reflection on your guy's little life so far. he sounds like an absolutely wonderful kid. i always love when you share his quotes - so far ahead of him time and doesn't even know it!

much love to ye! hugs to you & that fantastic five year old!

xoxo.

spicylikeginger | 9:32 PM

So, do we get to see The Shoes?

Can you please explain further how your child is your shepherd? I'm having a hard time grasping this.

So wonderful how articulate and insightful he is.

Lucky mom.

Kerry | 5:49 AM

In all seriousness, I keep wondering if it's you really writing this, you're writing is AMAZING. The stories you tell, and the words you use to form sentences are beautiful. I tear up every.single.time. It's easy to see where you get your inspiration, your children are lovely.

Keep writing, please!

P.S. I love the picture of Archer and Fable holding hands.

Sam | 7:42 AM

Happy birthday to Archer! He is truly the coolest little guy. I hope he always stays so secure in himself. And I get so much hope when I think about his late talking stuff - mine is nearly three, and he does talk but it's a lot of gibberish. It's hard because I am impatient and want to COMMUNICATE with him. But I think of Archer (because mine also loves to drum) and I trust it's going to be okay.

Anonymous | 8:11 AM

I'm in tears. I'm going through some stuff and this jsut made the tears overflow.

Thank you and thank you Archer.
Happy Birthday.

Anonymous | 8:18 AM

I just founf out I am pregnant and I am a crazy artist living in the lower east side- my boyfriend is a 23 year old musician- and when we found out I was like I KNOW WE CAN DO THIS- I JUST WANT TO HEAR ABOUT SOMEONE ELSE WHO HAS AND NOT A 26yr old IN SUBURBAN FLORIDA ON THESE STUPID BLOGS-
Well I found ur book in an independent lesbian run bookstore- read the first few pages and bought it immediatly. That was twelve hours ago. I looked up your blog to see what was up and I find out Archer is 5. YOU ARE AMAZING THANK YOU FOR THE STRENGTH AND INSPIRATION. I CANT WAIT TO RIDE MY CRAZY ROLLERCOASTER!

Jessica | 8:41 AM

Four winds and a four way stop, four ways to go. Way to go strong Archer! Five years and five dirty fingers to count them on!

Binky | 12:58 PM

Wow, 5 years. A long time and no time. Happy birthday to Archer and happy anniversary to you as one AMAZING mother.

Amanda | 8:32 AM

aww - Happy (belated) Birthday, Archer!

Loukia | 12:38 PM

Sigh. Happy Birthday to your amazing 5 year old. My oldest son turns 5 in 2 months and I'm so EMOTIONAL. Lovely post. Perfect.