Ten years ago, our nation was still trying to make sense of the terrorist attacks which had devastated us the year before. We were battling in Afghanistan, and were debating a second war in Iraq. The first tremors were hitting our economy with names like Enron and WorldCom. In the midst of all that, on June 4th, after an anxious but relatively easy labor, I met my son for the first time.
I held him, tiny enough to fit from hand to elbow in one arm, and felt a giant sense of relief. Past the point of no return, I could no longer fret over the decision to bring a child into this terrifying world. I fizzed with excitement.
Some children are old souls. You can see the wisdom in their newborn eyes, and know that they'll make it through. Sam was different. He shone with newness and was truly an innocent. When he slept he alternately frowned and chuckled as if angels were talking to him, as if they hadn't quite let him go yet. Everything was a wonder. I was awestruck with the incredible responsibility of protecting him, and teaching him.
In ten years, Sam has been as much my teacher as I have been his. He expanded my emotional capacity like a balloon inflating. Thanks to him I have know greater joy, stronger anger, unbridled frustration, and breathtaking fear. Above all, unquenchable love.
In our house today, wars involve Nerf guns and our battles are over homework. Sam's life has -- of course -- been shaped by the aftermath of the year in which he was born, but he has a brilliant innocence and quirkiness that eclipses current events. His gift to me is a constant undercurrent of hope. I am blessed to have him in my life. He has made me a better person, and I look forward to knowing him for many, many more adventures. Happy birthday, beloved son.