The rest of the family claimed him with their joyful Welcome-s of poems, songs, gift baskets and newly opened bank accounts. The medical system claimed him with their backstage exams, shots and circumcisions. The country claimed him for its own - he was a little American with a blue passport before I got a chance to raised my right hand in court 10 years later, abdicating my German nationality in trade for my new American one. Later-on the schools claimed him, the friends, and finally the girlfriend who became his wife. Now his own son claims him, as will his future children, and every day - his work claims him, too. How many days I tried to hold the world at bay to help him keep his heart and soul. There were many days that were his own he will remember. Today he is grown and strong, and the world is his for the taking.
I remember looking at his little face for hours as he was propped up against my raised knees, sunk deeply into the white hospital duvet cover. I remember watching his Dad "talking" to him - happier than I had ever seen him. How much love and sunshine a little one brings.
These intimate memories parents bring up on their children's birthdays are embarrassing, and an annoyance to their children 29 years later. They have little to do with today. Today he is taller than both of us, and more mature than we were then. He has his own baby-son to raise, his own wife to tend to, and his own bills to pay. Just as then, though, we love to see him happy, smile and laugh. Just as then, we are thrilled when he eats his vegetables and gets some sleep.
Happy Birthday! - Old Friend.