To my boy, on the eve of your Irish ancestry presentation (Just Write)

It's 11:11, and I just put the loaves in the oven. He went to bed begging to bring Irish soda bread to school tomorrow, to pass out to his class during his ancestry presentation. I told him no. Too crumbly. Too messy. Too delicate to transport in his backpack. And besides, I didn't have any buttermilk.

But then his teacher emailed back an hour ago, said he was welcome to bring even a crumbly messy treat. And I remembered how to make buttermilk with a bit of lemon juice. And then I thought of his face in the morning when he would discover the loaves, and well, I got straight to work.

Every day he grows further and further into unfamiliar territory, stretching beyond the ages I've imagined him to be, spelling words like "hygiene" and "posture" without help (though I still have to remind him to wash his hair when he showers). Sometimes I don't know what to make of it all, how this little man came to live here, and whatever happened to the baby boy who used to sleep in the crook of my arm.

I hope when he's a teenager, when perhaps he's feeling stifled or misunderstood or anxious or disconnected, I hope he remembers the morning when he was seven and in the second grade, the morning when he woke up to the sight and smell of soda bread, and to the feeling of being loved, always.

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