Happy Birthday Sam!
Today is my oldest son’s birthday. I can hardly believe that he is turning 22. It seems like just a short time ago he entered this world, a squalling pink bundle of joy, amidst my wife’s shrieks of agony. It’s incredible how quickly the years have flown by.
He’s turned out to be a fine young man. His moral compass is set to true North and he’s looking to graduate in December with a Bachelor’s degree in economics, very possibly summa cum laude. He has great relationships with his professors and has insight into events that are wise beyond his years.
What a joy this journey has been. As I look back I can’t remember any significant periods of turmoil. I know what your saying, “Diabetes has clouded your memory Keith!”, but in all honesty it hasn’t. Yes we’ve had a few squabbles, but mostly it’s been smooth sailing. I credit most of it to the Lord’s guiding hand and that my wife and I have picked our battles carefully.
One battle I specifically chose not to have was over hair. During my teenage years my parents and I fought terribly, mostly over hair length. I wanted it longer and my mom, in particular wanted it short. It was the early 70’s. Things were in transition. In many circles it was about appearances. The older folks viewed longer hair as aberrant while shorter hair was viewed as good or ‘the norm’. Most of my friends had longer hair while mine wasn’t. It made for some nasty, tearful arguments and for hurt feelings. Bruised feelings don’t heal quickly. Unfortunately, when I was in my late teens my mom became mentally ill and then when I was 21, she died unexpectedly. I feel badly that we had never truly turned the corner from parent-child to adult-friend and healed those wounds.
I told my boys early on I had two rules about hair: 1) it had to be neat (relatively speaking) and 2) it had to be clean, after that anything goes. My oldest never cared too much about hair and his has fluctuated moderately with the current style. However, my youngest has gone from mid-shoulder length to buzzed, then to spiked and then to red, to green and to blue. If it had to do with hair, he’s covered the gamut. Does it matter? I guess it could, but if kids are being responsible, doing the things they should and have good moral character, why make it an issue?
I’m counting my blessings tonight. I hope I have many more years to watch these guys grow, revel in their accomplishments and most of all, enjoy their friendship.