The dapper little three-year-old on the left is my #4 son, who turns 24 today. Although he's changed a bit since this photo was taken--he's 6'2"now, his face is a lot more angular, and he's recently been sporting a moustache and goatee--he's still got a lot of the impish boyish charm that's on display here. And he's still got those dimples!
This son of mine is an extremely intelligent and talented individual. His drawings, which I've posted on this blog several times (most recently in a post from Jan. 14 titled "Lazy Saturday Mornings and Active Imaginations"), are truly amazing. I believe he could have a career at Disney or Pixar, if only he had a way to get his foot in the door. His dream job would be to design creatures and characters for video games (one of his lifelong passions); in the meantime, he's in the Army Reserves and he's putting his military intelligence training to good use working as a civilian contractor.
What makes this boy special, though--even more than his talents and abilities--is his character. He has a strong moral compass, he's kind and compassionate, and he's a very sweet son. I tell you, no mother could ask for a better son! He's very funny, too, with an offbeat, dry way of putting things--and he can mimic foreign accents and do a host of spot-on impersonations. (If you get a chance, make him do Christopher Walken for you. That one's a killer.)
When my fourth son was born (weighing in at 10 lbs. 12 and 1/2 oz.!!!), he came into the world screaming at the top of his lungs, instead of making little kitten noises like the three who'd come along before him. But as soon as the nurse placed him on me and I spoke to him, he got completely still as he listened to the sound of my voice. Then when they lifted him off my chest to take him down to the nursery, he began to scream again and I could hear him all the way down the hallway. "He knows who I am!" I said to my husband with tears in my eyes. That little guy completely melted me from the first moment we met, and he's just continued to do so in the 24 years since.
I love you, sweetie. Happy Birthday!