Christmas 2013, I was at my boyfriend’s (now ex) parents home. His parents are incredibly sweet people who go absolutely out of their way to help people and throw a wonderful Christmas celebration.
We celebrated Christmas… Kind of, when I was a child. As a Witch raised by a Jew and an atheist with two Minister’s as parents, Christmas was always lacking something. Maybe it was the fact that we decorated my moms rubber tree plant with bobbles and blue and silver lights(Hanukkah colors) or the fact that my little sister starting at the age of two was terrified of Santa Claus so we told her that Batman came down our chimney, but I digress.
On this Christmas, my exes folks piled presents high for all of us, which was surprising to me after celebrating with my sons fathers family who would go out of their way to exclude me for being Jewish (We hid the witchcraft thing… That probably would have caused their catholic heads to explode!)
So receiving not only an overflowing stocking but multiple gifts was a shocking and surreal experience. I admit that I got quite emotional and his mom went on and on about how much fun it was to finally shop for a girl as they only had one child who is male.
I was a little surprised to unwrap a calendar with faces I didn’t recognize.
My blank face must have been cause for concern because his parents instantly went into explanation.
“N said you liked Torchwood, but the lady at the store said they didn’t have Torchwood items and that Doctor Who was in the same universe…”
“Oh, its great! Yeah, I haven’t seen Doctor Who yet….” I struggled to explain, not wanting to insult a family known for their SciFi love.
See, I tend to do everything backwards. Not on purpose, its just the way I tend to do things. I discovered Torchwood many years ago, and devoured it. I bawled so hard at *Spoilers!!* the death of Owen and Tosh that my dad had to console me over the phone.
We kept unwrapping presents, turn after turn and other than beauty products, make-up, and leggings there seemed to be a definite theme.
Doctor Who hoodie, Doctor Who blanket, Doctor Who socks, Doctor Who keychain…..
By the end of the unwrapping I decided it was time for me to finally watch Doctor Who and see what its all about.
So I did just that…. 5 months later.
You see, I am really not a SciFi fan. NOT AT ALL. Give me horror, zombies, blood and guts, comedy, dark comedy, musicals, hell I watch more cartoons than is probably acceptable for an adult my age. I can name a voice actor in mere seconds with just a sampling of a voice. But show me the cast of Star trek and I will stare blankly.
So I continued to watch, let it play in between clients that called in for a tarot reading. And I get why people like it, but its just not my cup of tea. See, Torchwood is more Doctor Who after dark. That grabbed me. Plus, Gwen Cooper is a hottie with hair I am super jealous of.
Someone else in our household became drawn to Doctor Who.
I remember my son, Gabe, coming home from school. There was that episode on with the creepy children in the gas masks.
Gabe was completely sucked in.
“Doctor Who” I told him.
And from that day on, the moment he came home from school, Gabe would watch it.
Gabe is a super special kid. He has one of the most vivid imaginations of any child I have ever met. Soon I heard him playing in his room, going on adventures with the Doctor and Jack Harkness(Yes!!!)
Gabe went through season after season. Then one day, he met the 11th Doctor. Something about Matt Smith’s entrance completely enchanted Gabe. He started to wear his clip on tie (he didn’t have a bowtie yet) everywhere. When people asked in school what he wanted to be when he grew up, he gleefully said “The Doctor… Or a scientist”
Gabe also related on some level to #11. One day Gabe was sitting next to me on the couch while playing with some action figures.
“Mom, I think I am part Timelord”
I smiled “Oh yeah? Why is that?”
“Because of my heart” he explained. And I realized that I couldn’t argue with him.
You see, Gabe was born with not four, but five chambers in his heart. The lower left ventricle contained two sides that were beating at different rhythms. Gabe explained that this was the closest to having two hearts that he had ever heard of. And again, I just couldn’t argue.
When Gabe was 3 months old he had open heart surgery to remove the troublesome chamber and to patch two murmurs he had.
Then a strange thing happened.
When Gabe was two, that fifth chamber wall grew back! “That’s kinda like regeneration” he said.
At 2 1/2 Gabe underwent open heart surgery a second time to remove that fifth chamber.
In his 7 year old mind, being part timelord is a perfectly reasonable explanation for all this.
Gabe also relates to the Doctor because he has felt devistating loss. His father passed away suddenly when Gabriel was 5. It will be 5 years this July.
When Gabe’s birthday came along, I knew exactly what theme he was going to pick.
We went all out. My sister baked Doctor Who cupcakes, I made a bunch of themed foods, games and even bowties for all the kids.
I have written about this party in a past post so we will skip ahead to this year. If you haven’t read that blog post yet, I won’t spoil it but will give you a little taste. At one point we had in full custom #10 hoisting up a #11 to hang swirly star decorations while Amy Pond made sure cats didn’t escape and #9 munched jammy dodgers. Oh yes, we went all out.
Gabe is now 9 turning 10. He decided this year that instead of a party, he just wants to ride a rollercoaster with his two best friends, well, and me, if he can get me ON a rollercoaster.
I was all prepared to skip the party this year and just take the three kiddos and Gabe’s Grandpa to a theme park instead.
Except Gabe’s birthday is May 3rd, and all the parks around us don’t open until the END of May.
The weight of this information made me feel like the worse mother in the world! I felt horrible, but knew I had to tell him.
I did. And because Gabe is the amazing kid that he is, instead of a meltdown, instead of tears or a tantrum I got the response of
“Oh, that’s alright mom. We’ll just celebrate later and have Chinese food for dinner on my birthday. Can we get dumplings?”
Best kid in the world, right?
So here I am. Its March. Usually by this point I am slaving away, making a piñata, or decorations, or invitations by hand. Usually I am calling in the troops(aka friends and relatives) and assigning crazy jobs “Heeeey, wanna dress up like the Joker for a birthday party?” Or “So, your job is to snap a picture of these kids as we capture them in giant bubbles” or Gabe’s last birthday party theme (Messy, just… Messy) “Wanna help me build an ice cream carwash?” “What’s that??” “No idea….”
Instead, I am sitting here, feeling like there must be something else I can do to make this amazing little man’s 10th birthday memorable.
So I am reaching out yet again to the internet for help.
If you are a Doctor Who fan and you will be at a convention and happen to see Matt Smith, will you tell him about my amazing little guy and ask if he would wish Gabriel a Happy Birthday by May 3rd.
Tell him about Gabe. How Gabe has been through more in his 9 years than most adults go through in their whole lives.
Gabe was 3 lb 7 oz when he was born. Now he is a whopping 65lbs and 53″
Gabe has had 14 surgeries including open heart surgery twice.
When Gabe was 5, his father, a Veteran from the Afghanistan war, passed away unexpectedly.
Please, tell him how Gabe is an amazing child who makes everyone in his life laugh and smile. How he has gone through all of this, without complaint, without a fuss. In fact, Gabriel probably comforts and worries about me more than he does himself. Heck, as I am writing this, that little trooper is dealing with an ear infection and a broken toe (he inherited my clumsiness and accidentally hit it on a huge book)
So, if you run into the previous Doctor, who Gabriel looks up to so much, take a moment, tell him about Gabriel, the sweet kiddo who is part Time Lord.