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.
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 have taught me that people are people, some just differently-abled.
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 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 locked yourself into rooms at school when I didn’t have keys for them.
So are the times that you peed on me when you were potty training because you turned your body to tell me something midstream.
And especially the times that you call me “DaddyStu” and tell me you love me while still staring at the television.
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?