There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life — happiness, freedom, and peace of mind — are always attained by giving them to someone else.

~ Peyton Conway March


Every day. Not every minute, mind you, for we all have our moments. But I wander into your room late at night, after you’ve drifted off to some Celtic-soundtrack-for-sleeping CD, and I watch you breathe. I sit down beside you and just rest my hand on your shoulder. You stir, maybe mumble, but seldom wake. You don’t see me cry. Gently some nights. Occasionally, tremors push to the surface, erupting from that place where worries and doubts fester. Then slowly, the sediment of time dissipates in an alluvion of joy. You give me that. The good and the bad and the stream in which they flow. Never stagnant. Always rushing.


To make mistakes. To face these ups and downs, jackknives and fishtails, and learn to right myself. I stall more than most. Hit the ditches and blow out the tires. And you glance back at me without slowing down, smile a mischievous yet sincere smile, continue to put one foot in front of the other, and invite me to keep up. I stagger out of the gutter and join you. You let me do that, even when most would leave me behind.


You shine. I see you wherever you are. Rest knowing that you think. That you consider others precious, and yourself able to overcome. Like so many before you, behind me, you are gentle and kind, yet willing to be nothing less that what you desire to be. You ask for nothing in return except respect and trust. And it is freely given because you’ve earned it.

I can’t see past you, the bumps and detours and freak shows that litter the road ahead. They matter so little, now or then. For your footing is sure, each step light yet determined. It’s a magnificent dance to behold . . .

Happy 16th birthday, son. And thanks for the gifts . . .


17 thoughts on “Gifts

  1. simply put? beautiful. absolutely beautiful.

  2. awww…. it’s the strangest feeling, isn’t it? seeing the baby face appear on your sleeping teenager?

  3. That’s a great post. I feel like I just watched him grow. Hope he has a great day.

  4. Again you move me to tears. So beautiful.

  5. Happy birthday to your son. Sixteen is a terrifying and wonderous year — here’s hoping it’s a great one for the both of you.

  6. A very happy birthday to your son. What an amazing tribute.

  7. Beautiful, Brian. And great pictures! Happy birthday to your oldest. šŸ™‚

  8. Okay – you’re killing me. Those photos are so amazing….your son is amazing. I’m all teary over here – there is nothing better for a mama to read than a father writing about his son.

    Happy 16th Birthday!!! What a dad you have….

  9. Oh and Brian – that quote at the top?? Perfect. I’m gonna remember it.

  10. Happy 16th Birthday! First time visiting, from a tweet. Such a beautiful post.

  11. I know we put one foot in front of the other and that nothing will halt the march of time. I know my children will one day be those ornery, wonderful, hormonal teenagers and it scares the ever-loving daylights out of me. I only hope I handle that time with the same grace you display here.

  12. That was great. I liked watching the progression as he aged.

  13. Those are some fun pics. They do grow and change so fast, but their inner soul remains the same.

  14. Very, very nice. I hope he had a great sixteenth.

  15. Happy belated birthday to your boy! What a treasure you have given him in this tribute.

  16. What an amazing sequence of photos!
    Sixteen. Wonder what that’ll feel like? Hopefully something like the above.

  17. Happy Birthday, little cheek.

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