It's birthday time!

My eldest turns 9 today! I have memories of things that happened before I was 9, but they are snippets - flashes of events and people. Nine, however, I remember 9 with clarity. So this, more than his height, more than his reluctance to let me kiss him, and more than the new teeth that changed his little boy mouth, lets me know that my baby is growing up. So, with a bittersweet mixture of nostalgia and excitement, I celebrate 9 nine years with my beautiful boy and 9 years as a mother. I am thankful for and humbled by both.

Happy birthday, my angel. I love you.

To mark the occasion, here is a poem written and performed by our friend Paul Childress, when I was pregnant.

Ballad of J Howard

Floating, thinking unable to see
Who do you resemble in our fair Candy's belly
Perhaps Jason's ears coupled with Candy's hair
Oh unborn J that would be a nightmare
Maybe mommy's skin and perhaps daddy's feet
Little one at the sight of that most humans would weep
No dear boy you will receive the best from your parents
Your father's penny pinching and your mother's appearance
What must it be like for the first time to see?
Your sweet mother's face and your passed out daddy
I can just see the tears and also the laughter
As Jason Howard tries to change his first diaper
The ride home and the scary mobile above your head
The logic Jason gives Candy so he doesn't have to get out of bed
Little J Howard a child could only hope to be as lucky
To have such loving parents as you have in these
So raise up your spirits and cheer without end
For the miracle and joy bestowed upon our friends

Through a child's eyes

This morning I told my eldest that today would have been Poppy's birthday.
With the clarity of a child, he said, "It still is, Mommy."

To celebrate his birthday, the boys each sent him a note on a balloon.

To celebrate his life, please vote for my dream assignment! This is a photography contest with the winner receiving $50,000 to make their dream assignment a reality. Mine is to donate the $50,000 to Addi's Cure and then document the results. Please check it out, vote for me and pass it on to your friends and family. There are only two weeks left!