To Our Little Big Man, On His 20th Birthday


“Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man.”

                                                                                                        ~ Aristotle

The night you were born

and you were lying in that little see-through crib

next to my hospital bed,

we were staring at each other for hours,

in awe of the miracle of life.

You were the easiest baby

and an old soul the moment

you started talking

and dressing like an old man.

Your “dress” shirts I never ironed

and your clip-on tie became

like a fixture around your neck.

You had a girlfriend in preschool already

but fessed up to me one day

“that relationships with girls were complicated,”

which was a pretty amazing observation

considering you were 5.

As you hit puberty and adolescence

and started towering over me like

the athletic rower you were,

I missed the close relationship we had had

and the philosophical discussions

we engaged in when you were little.

At 8 you told me stuff about

the universe I didn’t even know.

Like that day I was floored by a pounding migraine

and you tried to cheer me up by

announcing that the sun was a mere star

that would burn up and take our entire civilization with it.

Caroline was not bothered by the news,

subscribing to living in the moment with the comment:

“I’m drawing and that’s all that matters now.”

You and I were more serious, and somehow more alike

Readers, thinkers, dreamers…

But over the years we grew apart

which is normal, and called individuation,

followed by growing up and moving out.

However, in recent conversations, I have felt

the old connection is, in fact, intact.

As if your maturity is allowing you to show

the small-boy wonder and candor of the past

that went too fast.

And so:

Once your were little, but really an old man

but now that you’re a man, you are my little guy again.

I thought you had gone away, and though you have,

You have in fact come home again…

Thank you for all the years…

We love you and are very proud of the man you have become

And prouder still of the boy you never left behind.

Now go out and celebrate!


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2 Responses to To Our Little Big Man, On His 20th Birthday

  1. Melanie says:

    Happy birthday to you, Jon and to Will. Your first and very remarkable child. Thanks for celebrating with us all. XO

  2. susan hamilton says:

    Awesome and genuine Inez. Love it.

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