What should I say, Benjamin, that I didn’t say this time last year? What can I report? How have you changed?
I remember the day of your birth so clearly: the turmoil, the fear, the sheer, sheer joy of holding you close and knowing that we had made the right choice. I remember your first birthday: the exhilaration that you had got this far, the promise that you held.
But what should I say, another year on?
So much should happen in the second year of a child’s life. They should start walking. They should start talking. They should learn to feed themselves, to play, even to tantrum. They should… Should.
As the milestones turn into inchstones, and even the inchstones fail to appear, what should I say?
I should say that you have gained weight, gained strength, gained energy.
I should say that you can see, hear, taste and feel – much more than the doctors say you can.
That you can hold your head up, that you can roll from your back on to your side.
That you have favourite toys, favourite foods, and favourite people.
That you can show recognition, surprise, disgruntlement, and love.
That you have brought us new friends and new opportunities.
That you have taught us patience, perseverance, understanding and gentleness.
That you give my life focus and meaning.
That you are so loving and so very much loved.
That you don’t care about should. That you have come so far this year. That we celebrate you today and every day. Happy birthday, my precious boy.