Happy Birthday to The Redheaded Carolina Freshwater Possum – Malcolm Turns 9, So I Wrote Him a Letter

I want to wish my little man a happy birthday and I hope when he reads this sometime in the future he will feel one iota of the love that it is written with. If not, then I will read it to him.


You were born a few weeks early to strong mom and a somewhat fearful dad. We wanted you to be healthy. I would be lying if I didn’t have fear that you would need a little help after birth. But you were brilliantly healthy and ready to conquor the world, one person at a time.

Even preterm, you were over eight pounds rocking a quaff of flaming red hair. The NICU doctors who were on call literally carried you straight from mom to a heating lamp to see if you needed extra care.

They poked and probed and thumped you like a melon and declared you to be what you still prove to be today – a walking muscle of strong-willed yet lovable boy.

When I found out in the May before you were born that you would have an extra chromosome, I remember telling someone that I guess I would find out what kind of teacher I would be when you came along.

And yet, you proved to be the teacher – perhaps the most unconditionally loving teacher I have ever had.

You have taught me to put away labels.

You have taught me to use a different lens to view life.

You have taught me that timetables are a human construct.

You taught me that obstacles are actually opportunities.

You have taught me that people are people, some just differently-abled.

And you have taught me that compared to you I have absolutely no game at all because you are truly Grandpa Ed’s boy when it comes to the ladies.

So, I want to tell you that every time you scared the hell out of me in the middle of the night while grading papers and stealthily walking in the room and sitting next to me and yelling “Milk!”, those are memories I cherish.

So are the times that you come to my side of the bed and and place a full gallon of milk and then stare at me until I wake up to pour you a cup.

So are the times when I can’t find the Titan hat I want to wear that day and  it’s in your room.

So are the times that you streaked in public, like the instance you got thrown out of the YMCA for showing your butt to the world.

So are the times that you got free baseballs at minor league games because you were so damn cute.

So are the times that you locked yourself into rooms at school when I didn’t have keys for them.

So are the times that you took the bacon from my breakfast plate and ran screaming “My bacon!”

So are the times that you peed on me when you were potty training because you turned your body to tell me something midstream.

So are the times when you take my coffee in the grocery store and don’t let me have another sip.

And especially the times that you call me “DaddyStu” and tell me you love me while still staring at the television.

I guess I want to say “Thank you, little man” for being patient with me and know that I will always watch Minions and Ice Age with you.

And yes, I will take you to the pool.

Oh. And there’s a cup of milk in the fridge ready for you when you wake up at some ungodly hour in the morning.

Heck, there’s some bacon ready for you too.

Can I have my hat back now?

2 thoughts on “Happy Birthday to The Redheaded Carolina Freshwater Possum – Malcolm Turns 9, So I Wrote Him a Letter

  1. What a sweet, sweet tribute to a precious son! You express your thoughts with such love and tenderness. Happy Birthday to Malcom and many happy “reruns”! He is one lucky boy! And you are one lucky Mom!

    Marietta Smith(Charlie’s Mom!)


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