When I turned 12, I took a certification class with the Red Cross, and started babysitting. All the money went into my college fund, but eventually I used it to buy one terrible car in high school, and then one miraculous one that I’d drive for the next decade. I loved babysitting. Little kids can rocket from joy to abject misery in a single sentence. They seem, always, on the edge of space travel. As though a new and better planet were one leap over the couch away.
I know you don’t like babies, but imagine someone handing you a rare and powerful Yu-Gi-Oh! card, or a kitten. That is how delighted I am about babies.
In the hospital, they handed me an angry little burrito and I was already moonstruck. Dazed with love. To meet you at last after singing and dancing and walking and laughing with you for so many months beforehand. My beautiful boy.
So tall now that you can put your arm around my shoulder without leaning. So tall now that you can boop my nose while you stand several feet away. How I love you. Your refusal to do anything quickly. To sit and stare at your cards when you’re supposed to be getting ready for bed or school or an outing. How you are so busy remembering things for me that you forget things for yourself. How you never remember the names of the kids around you. “I think it’s either Josh or Dan? I don’t know. He has brown hair I’m pretty sure.”
I love your terrible jokes. Your painful puns. I love the way that you have a joke ready for every situation. I love that you play trumpet like a battle cry.
Yesterday my friend told me about this thing Mr. Rogers said, “Everyone has someone who loved them into being.” That is what you did. You loved me into being. You beautiful boy. Happy birthday.