He is on the couch now, half a room away and then some, lost in pixels and buttons, a puppeteer of animated action, a digital deity. His little brother is a leg’s length from him, offering color commentary in true sidekick form, their feet twisted together beneath a forgotten truce and a couple of Cheetos.
The morning will bring a birthday. His first year as a teenager will officially be complete, a trial run filled with free samples of angst and two for one eye rolls. He will now be in the thick of it, his growth a chart of pains and pangs, his smile full of warmth and metal. Fourteen, one better than a baker’s dozen, and all the things with it. The couch keeps getting smaller.
It’s starting to be a pattern. For instance, about a decade ago he turned four, then suddenly he was six. He did it again at 10. Some years were happy, and some were sad. Some didn’t get written about at all, so they probably didn’t happen. Life is unpredictable like that.
The bottom line is, Atticus turns 14 in the morning, and we’re the real winners here.
Happy birthday, you kind, funny, smart and empathetic kid. And thank you, for everything.