Happy Birthday, Son!

28 years ago you created a totally smitten mother and father.

Posted in , Mar 6, 2015

Happy Birthday, William Hamlin!

Dear Will,

All parents have huge expectations for their kids before they’re born, and you put them all into a zillion prayers. 

We called you “Truax” before you were born, picking out a name we found in some old family volume. We didn’t know whether you’d be a boy or a girl–we wanted to leave room for surprises–but “Truax” was our mental place holder.

“What will it be like when Truax is here?” we asked ourselves. What kind of family would we be? 

We were looking for a larger place to live, bigger than our tiny third-floor walk-up, and as we checked out two-bedroom apartments, we’d try to imagine what it would be like with Truax in the extra room.

“Let me be Truax crying from his crib in here. ‘Waaaaaaaa,’” I’d say. “Can you hear him from the other bedroom?” I’d ask your mom. Or I’d make the noise of toddler running around in that empty room, racing from the door to the window to see if Daddy was coming home.

Of course, that room became yours and your brother’s and still is even if you hardly ever sleep there these days. It’s like that place we made in our hearts for you and we still keep fully furnished for all your hopes and dreams. There are always more prayers to be answered.

We bought furniture for your room, too, a chest of drawers and a toy chest. I remember stenciling them with A,B,C’s and trying to imagine Truax pointing at them and saying with me, “A,B,C,D,E…” (Yep, that came true.) 

We looked around in our new neighborhood and wondered if you’d have friends here, because friends are a lifeline.  Would you play in that playground, climb that jungle gym, dig in that sandbox, slide down that slide?

We worried a lot–probably more than we would admit to each other. Where would you go to school? Maybe you wouldn’t be any good at reading and wouldn’t have a love of books like we did. What if you wished you had a dad who was good at sports, unlike me?

We tried to turn those worries into prayers, but trust can come hard in those anxious days of awaiting your firstborn. We loved God and loved each other but what if we couldn’t figure out how to love you?

And then came that night–babies do like to be born at night–when you made your long expected appearance. We were totally smitten. We considered you the best looking baby ever born, a paragon of intelligence, wit and humor.

But then you weren’t Truax anymore and we weren’t some young couple, husband and wife, staring across each other at the breakfast table. We were suddenly Mom and Dad and there you were in our laps or in the Snugli, our son William.

A preacher I know once said, “Every newborn child is a sign from God that he expects the world to go on.” I don’t think I’d put it that grandly. 

It’s that a child gives parents a whole new perspective on the world. You discover new depths of compassion. You feel yourself linked to every other parent and turn your head, no matter how old your child is, when you hear someone call, “Mom! Dad!”

Just know, you and your brother made our world. Still do. Love, Dad 

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