On my son’s third birthday.

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I’ve paused on writing Sam’s birthday post I’ve been preoccupied with the presidential election: so much, in fact, that the xenophobia, racism, and misogyny have made my heart and mind hurt, and I’ve been sitting with this sludge of thoughts and thinking, “How did we get here? What kind of world are we building and modeling for our children?” This post isn’t political: it’s about where you draw the moral line, and as we celebrated Sam’s third birthday I’ve thought a lot about how a boy grows into a man.

Sam, like all kids, is good. His favorite things are marshmallows, trains, and swim class. He is eager and pure in his excitement: there is no cynicism and his love and enthusiasm are not conditional.

To say Sam is just shy is to not know him: he’s a lovable oddball, a cuddler, and like his big sister, loves experiencing the new and different (until he conks out, still sucking his two middle fingers, eyes half closed). He takes delight in the infinitesimal: when I told him I made pink and green cupcakes for his birthday last week he shrieked, “Pink and green?! Pink AND green?! YAYYYYYYYYYY!” as he jumped up and down. He then, “Thank you Mommy,” his blue eyes all light. The boy is earnest.

He’s equally exuberant over the site of a backhoe or a marshmallow, or Fern darting around the living the room or when I tell him it’s swim class night and it’s not enthusiasm you can feign, but only exists from the mouths of babes and it makes Matt and I love him even more: he’s a happy kid and he makes us happier. He often has Annie in hysterics. Julie calls him a sweetheart. I call him a gift.

Sam will be a good man, like his father. Their light bends on the same medium. And it is bright and beautiful.

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