Our son was born on February 17, 1976. It seems appropriate that the entire country was celebrating that year. It became clear early on that he was a special little boy. He recognized letters before he was two and read books before he was three. He enlisted in the US Marines when he was five through a flier in a magazine. Our mailman intercepted it and we kept it framed and later gave it to his wife.
He was a challenging child, born with his own schedule and given to temper tantrums during the "terrible twos." Recognizing that the scale was not perfect on his childish drawings, he would dissolve into tears, crying because "the people are too big, they're not supposed to be half the size of the house." His older sister could set him off when she would draw a smiley face saying, "This is me" and a frowny face saying, "This is you." He loudly announced the "eff" word, asking what it meant in a fast food restaurant when he was four. I had the privilege of calling three sets of parents to let them know their children had learned a new word, thanks to my son's reading ability and curiosity.
This was his favorite shirt. He insisted on wearing it every day and waited for it to get out of the dryer when it had to be washed. Finally it was just too small. I still have it.
Just as my mother did not understand why I would allow him to wear the same tee shirt every day, she did not understand why I would let him go outside without a jacket. I tried to explain that if I said nothing he would come inside and get a jacket when he got cold. I knew that some battles were best not even fought.
He rode his Big Wheel for hours.
Like most children, he loved Christmas and unlike many, he liked getting dressed up. He still does.
(This may have been the last year we put tinsel on our trees.)
When he didn't want his picture made he refused to smile. And no amount of joking would coax a smile from him. He was quite determined when he set his mind to something.
Many of his teachers in grade school and high school loved him, and many did not. It was not at all unusual to go to one teacher conference and hear such glowing terms as, "he is so intelligent and creative; so articulate and humorous, such a delight to have in class." And then to go to the next teacher to hear, "he has a smart mouth on him, is disruptive and doesn't follow directions." Obviously some of the teachers admired his intelligence and clever wit while others were threatened by those same qualities.
He earned his Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do.
(A great discipline and esteem booster for any youngster.
I highly recommend it.)
His first rappelling experience at Devil's Lake.
He loved it and impressed the heck out of his fellow scouts with his nerve and skill.
High school, perhaps the last time his curly hair was trimmed and well-trained.
The very picture of the clean-cut all-American boy.
Today, our son is a very successful adult, a wonderfully accepting, tolerant and caring man. He is compassionate and courageous. He is a wonderful person and we love him so very much.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SWEET SON!