I had a really surreal moment the night before you were born. Your mom, brother, and I had moved out of our old house and we were staying with your Grandma and Granddad. We knew you were coming the next day. So I went to bed that night in the bedroom in which I grew up, your mom beside me, and knowing that you were on your way. It was weird and it was kind of a full-circle moment. I didn’t know what was going to happen next. I just knew it would be wonderful.
And you are wonderful. I look at that picture on the left and can scarcely believe that it was one year ago that came into our world. Even though you have only been with us for twelve months and you’re our second child, it feels like you have been here from the start; a piece that we did not know was needed until you showed up.
You have an incredible older brother. I was never technically worried about whether you would measure up; I knew we would love you and be proud of you regardless. Yet there is that thought that lingers in your mind of whether you would be able to carve out your own niche. I didn’t even know if a baby could actually carve out a niche. Really it was a ridiculous thought, because every person is unique.
So it has been cool to watch you be you. You would not think that an infant that cannot talk and is just now taking his first steps would have much in the way of personality. But you are so beautifully and uniquely Liam; because of that reality, it has been a blast to watch you this last year.
You are not just a bundle of joy but a mountain of joy. When you started crawling, your Granddavid began calling you Bulldog. The description fits perfectly: your chubby cheeks puffing out as you breathe going through the room, the determined toughness in which you do not let any obstacle—even your big brother—get in the way.
You seem to always be smiling, always expressing awe at everything that you see. And that’s happy curiosity that you bear is contagious. Strangers get it when they catch your grin in restaurants. People’s voices get higher and more excited when they see you. Your brother sometimes talks in absolute gibberish which delights you no end. You are a bearer of joy and I hope that as you grow older you realize that you bring so much happiness to those that love you.
There is so much more about which I could write. Your lone two teeth on the bottom of your mouth. Your delighted squeal when you’re tickled. The way that you and I cackle at each other maniacally when I feed you. The way your whole body bounces with excitement when your mom comes homes from school. The way that you reach out to be held by your many loved ones. I could go on and on.
You are just awesome and your mom and I are so grateful for you. So as you enter into your second year here, this is my simple prayer for you. I pray that you know that you are loved—by God, by your mom, brother, and I, plus so many other people—more than you could ever imagine. I pray that curiosity will not be extinguished. And I pray that you will always be full of joy that overflows to those around you.
Happy Birthday Liam. I am so glad that you’re here.
P.S. If you ever actually come across this, you’ll probably have questions about the mascot bracket that proceeded this. Long story short: your dad is a nerd. But we’ll get through that together.