Happy Birthday to Miles!

Miles, in my living room, playing my piano

I just got the most touching call. I thought I would share it here in my blog. It was just a call from my God-son Miles saying thank you for his birthday gift, but it blew me away. He can have that effect on me. So can his older brother Dylan. Both are so lovely and filled with gratitude. It’s rare in this town filled with over-indulged kids.

Fifteen years ago, I saw Miles being born and I was really rooting for his name to be Jasper. That name was a consideration and I was mad for it. I had never seen a baby being born, not even my own (three C-sections) and I was honored (and a little terrified). His parents named him Miles and I quickly adjusted, but harbored a fantasy that Kimberly, his mother might still change her mind.

As the smallest newborn, Miles was taken to my oldest son, Oliver’s Bar-mitzvah. My father, no longer with us was introduced that day to my God-son Miles. It was a moment caught on video and I always loved knowing that my father did get to meet this amazing boy. When Miles was very little, I would often tell Kimberly that my dad would have LOVED him and he would have said about him “he’s a winner”. Think New York accent when you hear/say winner and it’s winna.

When Augie and I walked in to Kimberly’s house to drop off a little gift today for Miles, his grandmother and aunt were there. Miles and his mother were at the gym working out. Miles’s Grandmother, Cindy and his Aunt Brenda asked me how I remembered that it was Miles birthday. And I answered “because it’s my half birthday”. Hello? I’m four years old and still celebrate my half birthday!!! Not really. But, it certainly makes it an easy day to remember.

It’s been years since I’ve really hung out with Miles. I mean alone with Miles, just the two of us. But, when he was young, we did that a lot. Sometimes I took him with me to the gym. And a lot of times, he humored me by acting very interested in my favorite pastime, baking. We baked many cakes together. He was my sous chef. Is there such a thing for baking? Appropriately, the moment Miles called me tonight, I was in the middle of baking.

When I say that this “gift” was such a little understated nothing thing, I’m not exaggerating. It’s fine. It’s a nice, soft blue t-shirt from the skate shop in our hood.
Miles called me to rave about this gift. He thanked me profusely as he often did as a little kid when I might bake for him. He is so appreciative and grateful. And better yet, he means it. I felt like I had showered him with thousands of dollars in a new, hip wardrobe. This was a less than $30 t-shirt. The call I just got thanking me is priceless.

Even though Miles and I don’t hang out that much anymore now that he’s a full blown teenager, we are still in sync. His mother told me that at the very moment I was dropping off the present (he was totally unaware of this), Miles was telling his mother how much he loved going to the gym with me when he was a kid.

When Miles was little, he loved a good old fashioned birthday cake. But, I want to share a recipe his mother Kimberly once gave me. I asked her for a recipe for lemon cake and she told me this one was the best. The recipe, given to me at least 10 years ago, is still written on the scratch paper I grabbed when I was on the phone with Kimberly. She was right, it is truly the very best lemon cake ever.
Lemon Cake
2 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups unbleached flour
1 Tablespoon lemon juice ( I use 2)
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 eggs
cream the sugar and softened butter until fluffy, add flour to mixture, then add lemon juice and vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time
bake at 350 in a bundt pan for an hour and 15 minutes but after 30 minutes cover your bundt pan with foil
squeeze lemon juice in a small bowl and some grated lemon rind, add powdered sugar to consistency that you like

Kimberly with Miles as a newborn at Oliver's Bar-Mitzvah

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5 Responses to “Happy Birthday to Miles!”

  1. Augie Duke says:

    so touching, Miles is like a little brother to me , well he is my God Brother… Love you both…

  2. Kim says:

    thank you freddy for such a nice entry on your blog about me!!

  3. What a tender story. Gratefulness is the best gift of all…both to others and to ourselves. I really enjoy reading each and everyone of your posts. You really put a smile on my face. :}

  4. jennifer arbaugh says:

    Looking at May blog I ran across April and had not read about Miles…. I remember meeting Kim’s Dylan in your home when he was 3 or so. Beautiful just like his ma. Love the photo as it is Kimberly as I will always remember her. A tender entry. Jenn xxxxx

  5. Kim says:

    I know it is a year old but I read it again and so appreciate the time you took, the honor for me to have someone recount the specialness of my kids. To see who they really are and hold that up. Thanks fred. You are a wonderful writer and an amazing heartfelt, deep woman. I adore your kids too, they are special in so many different ways. We are blessed with the depth that makes us appreciate the richness of our lives. Gratitude. xoK

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