happy 5th birthday, liam

It seems like a year ago, as opposed to five, that I was holding you for the first time. I remember the nurse handing you to me, bundled up like a little glowworm, and leaving the two of us together in the dimmed hospital room. You looked up at me with your black eyes, as if you might say something. We stared at one another for a while, you, still shocked by your new world, and I, still shocked that I actually was holding you, my son.

You, dear one, love beauty. From art to language to flowers to clothes, you enjoy discovering and relishing beauty. Most days you spend hours drawing or painting or coloring, often giving form to a story or dream or character familiar to you. Frequently (and without prompting), you tell me how beautiful I look or how you enjoy a particular dress or pair of earrings that I’m wearing. You regularly bring me unsolicited flowers from the yard or park — not to win my approval, but to share a piece of beauty with me. I love this about you.

Your imagination runs deep, as does your sensitivity to those around you. You often recognize injustice, even when it does not affect you, and you usually want to defend them. However, you are only five, and therefore enjoy defending your own causes too. Dad and I often refer to you as our D.A., with your never-ending questions and love for verbal combat. You are so competitive, Liam, and loathe losing at anything — even things as simple as getting dressed first. Because of this, you will always give everything that you have, even in the small things. And even in these young years, I can see the way your zealous and light-hearted nature affects those around you, young and old. And although, sweet boy, you will fail at some things, as everyone inevitably does, you will never be a failure. So be free, Liam. Be free to try new things, to do what’s in your heart, without fear of failure.  I love you. I delight in you. And today I celebrate you, Liam: happy birthday.

Your dad has class tonight, so we celebrated your birthday this morning. Here’s a picture of you with your brithday “cake.”