It’s your birthday, the center point for what you celebrate as a birthday month and celebrate you should. What fun we are having.
On the videos we make for our business, I introduce you as our co-founder and inspiration. I do so because it’s true. Not even three months ago, you had the idea of a sock store selling crazy socks and you wanted to go into business together. You came up with the name, helped pick out socks and every day, you work hard to make this potential idea a reality. It is hard to imagine a more trustworthy, giving and dedicated partner.
You are forever an inspiration. Like all great men, you show instead of tell. You inspire in the way you imbue the everyday – the birthday pancakes your Mom made, a trip to the recycling center and even our socks – with meaning and purpose. You inspire with your work ethic be it your attention to detail on your school assignments, the effort you give running hard up and down the beach for your snowshoe training or your dedication in writing thank you notes for each sock order. You inspire in the way you share your exuberance be it dancing in the street while waiting for the school bus, the bliss you display when jumping in my arms after a race or the pleasure you take in making hand deliveries of socks. You inspire in your care for others and your desire to spread joy as you help a classmate, encourage a teammate to finish strong or bring your Mom flowers. You bring cheerfulness wherever you go so it’s no surprise that John’s Crazy Socks is built on spreading happiness.
Twenty-one years ago, the doctor turned and placed you in my arms. I bent over you and wept with joy – another boy child. Just as quickly, you were off to the NICU, so frail and small that we measured you in grams. I sang to you in my raspy voice, read you poems and told you stories of your brothers and Mom and the world awaiting you all the while not knowing what would come. You had two surgeries before you reached your third month. It is funny now to think that you had a hole in your heart since your heart is so big, strong and giving. Those surgeries gave you a chance and that’s all any of us can ask: a chance to live our lives. And how you have lived!
What a journey it has been. Unpredictable, full of ups, downs and all-arounds. It is the journey that matters, how we forge our path, how we find meaning and connect with others and the world about us. Oh, how you have connected and what a path you have made for yourself. I have come to understand that we live to the fullest when we love the most, yet that is a truth you understood before me and one you helped me learn.
I tend not to peak of pride because that seems too selfish, though I beam when thinking and talking of you and your brothers. The better word is admire; I admire and cherish what you and your brothers do. No perfection, no smooth path, but oh how you persist. It is not a metaphor when I watch you fall down on the basketball court, pick yourself up and get back in the game. John, every day you carry on, making the world a little better.
On your 21st birthday, I can only wish that you have a chance for more. A chance to keep doing what matters. A chance to keep loving. I am so grateful that you are my son, my buddy, my partner. I love you.