I have been struggling a lot lately with you…with how to keep you my little boy, and yet let you grow up. This day, your birthday, gets me one day closer to the day that you are grown.
I was watching you sleep the other night, as I often do. Earlier in the day I questioned your need for constant motion. What is it that makes some children so calm and still, and some children so…wiggly? Yes, I watched you sleep and felt joyful and thankful for you, just the way you are. I actually smiled while thinking about your inability to sit still through a meal, and the way you prefer to do your homework standing up. And how you will sit down with us to watch a football game, only to nearly explode a few moments later with the need to run. There is a frenetic energy about you, William. Sometimes, that extra energy gets you in trouble. Sometimes, it makes you a star.
I watch you with your friends. You all play rough, and you play to win. These games seem to be an inherent part of being a boy, and becoming a man. Learning how to win, learning how to lose, learning how to be strong, learning how to master a game. And all while being as loud as is humanly possible.
And then there are the times that you are quiet. You long to please. You pick and choose the activities you know are good. And you do it not with the anticipation of a reward, but of simply making me happy. In those times you are so soft, and so clearly still my little baby boy. When you are tired, and can barely keep your eyes open as we read… When you wake in the morning, and the sleep is still on your face… These soft moments are fewer now as you get older, but still every day I see them.
From the moment you were born I have had dreams for you, William. You have dreams of your own now, big dreams on which I hope you never give up. You have an incredible amount of unbridled enthusiasm, Little Bill, and when you learn how to harness it, when you learn how to funnel that enthusiasm into something productive, your dreams will be within your reach. And I will be there to cheer you on. But silently, I will remember you as you are now…the yellow-haired, freckle-faced little boy that can’t sit still. The little boy with a soft side that he hides from most. My little boy.
Happy birthday! I love you so much, William.