To James on his Birthday


May the force be with you,  I mean Happy Birthday!

4 years ago today, at exactly 12:37pm, everyone present in our Washington DC hospital birthing room held their ears for the first two minutes of your life as they adjusted to the new sound frequency of the room brought on by your strong temper and lungs. Just 39 hours and 3 false labors later, there you were, perfect, with my eyes and voice, and your father’s name and preference for television. 

Your patience with your new and clueless parents did not go unnoticed and it impresses me still. As I tried to once again remember how to sit down in between taking exams, your dad exchanged diapers for writing graduate school papers, bottles for a different type of bottle, sound sleep for “he’s like a lot louder than a normal baby isn’t he?”

It was a whole new world. 



This year has been a great one, and these moments are fast, just like your shoes. Tonight as I lit the store bought cake (better than yesterday’s pre birthday celebration when I neither baked it nor bought it- Thanks Uncle Will!)  I caught a glimpse of our family, next door neighbors included. I thought many things. First, “where are Josie’s pants and how is it possible that Rita already has chocolate all over her face when the cake is still in my hands?” Also, “Why is Patrick shaking his bum, did anyone feed baby Brendan, and this is surely the loudest two family combination in existence.” But most importantly, “how is my little baby suck a big boy, displaying gratitude and appreciation, generosity, and joy. Just yesterday, he only knew how to spit up and cry.”

Birthdays for me are a little bit (maybe a lot bit) emotional, and I find myself uber reflective and easily provoked to tears. It’s silly really, and the fact that you put on your own shoes probably shouldn’t have put tears in my eyes but you are the one who first made me a mom and I’m really very grateful. For your life and for your virtue, for your tantrums and your lack of virtue, for showing me almost exactly what I look like in God’s eyes and how silly he must find me, just like I find you, and for bringing me to my knees and closer to His heart. 

This year has been a great one:

I accidentally taught you how to appropriately swear.

You began real preschool with your best friend and cousin Bailey. 

You are already so in love that you promised me you are going to “kiss her on the lips.”

You still mainly eat cheese. Your birthday spread included proscuitto wrapped asparagas, bacon wrapped dates, balsamic chicken, fried goat cheese spinach salad, and gourmet pizza. After eating the cheese from your pizza, you headed straight for the cupcakes.

Today you promised me that if wolves (pronounced woofs) chased me in the woods you would throw your shoes at them.

When I asked you what you want to be when you grow up you responded “buzz light year.” 

You prefer Curious George but will settle for National Geographic coverage of wild life animal kills. 

When I told you that your grandmother prayed for your birthday, you wondered if she spoke with Florida Jesus or Pittsburgh Jesus. 

With the turning of your age, comes too, the turning of my stage as a mom. No longer am I balancing ages 3, 2, and 1, an age stat I announced with quite a bit of pride. 

Thank you for 4 great years, and may there be many more. I pray you continue to give God your heart and to do it with generosity. I hope your smile remains as joyful as it is today and that one day you acknowledge your sister Josie as more than “ew she’s in the middle.” 

We love you! 





One thought on “To James on his Birthday

  1. haha happy belated birthday to HIM!!!!! Simon always says he’s never heard a baby cry as loud or as long as J in all the deliveries he’s done …. maybe they’d make a good match and have some seriously well behaved little kids 😉

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