My second oldest son turns 27 today. That's him on the left at about two, looking a lot more clean-shaven than he does at present. He likes to sport the Grizzly Adams look these days, and let his hair and beard get as long and scraggly as possible. When he was hired as an algebra teacher for the 2011-2012 school year, at a high school about an hour south of where we live, I thought for sure there would be a strict dress code for faculty--and that I would once again see those smooth cheeks he had as a little guy; but no luck there. In fact, at the school where he teaches, they have "No Shave November," when all the male teachers compete for the month to see who can grow the longest facial hair. And this school has absolutely no problem with "No Shave September Through June," which is just the way my boy likes it.
Oh well, I absolutely love this guy--a big, old, squeezable teddy bear of a man--to pieces, clean-shaven or not. In fact, he would tell you that he's my favorite, although I really don't have a favorite among my five sons. They're ALL favorites. But since it's his birthday today, and I'm on a road trip (with my husband, our oldest son and his wife, and our twin baby granddaugthers), so I can't see him in person and kiss those irresistible, scratchy cheeks of his, I'm going to give my boy this little birthday gift: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TO MY FAVORITE! (Hopefully, none of his brothers will read this post. But if they do, remember, guys: you're my favorites, too.)
My second oldest son is a funny person with a real gift for storytelling. He has me in stitches whenever he's around, and I think the kids in his classes are incredibly lucky to have a teacher who has the ability to make even math seem fun. He has a big, booming laugh, and an even bigger heart. He is an unapologetic mama's boy, and just the most loving son to both his father and me. If I didn't have to pack up soon and start getting ready to get back on the road, I'd tell you some stories about some sweet things he did as a little boy that would just melt your heart. But I don't have the time to do them justice right now, so I'll just sign off with a wish that my boy has a happy, happy birthday and that he knows just how much he's loved.