Good morning, dear Christopher.
I know you’re still dreaming in your bed out there in the land of palm trees and desert sands and breezes from the Pacific Ocean. You’re still dreaming in your bed, safe asleep in San Diego, perhaps turning over on your pillow, not yet remembering that today is your 30th birthday.
Today, today, you’re 30 years old, my dear one, my son!
It is a special day, indeed.
And because you’re still sound asleep and haven’t yet awoke to brew your coffee and write your dissertation and teach your discussion section, I will tell you a story, a magical story, like we did in olden times when you were still a sprout and I was a young mama and we lived in our Little House in the Big Woods.
This story is called Once Upon a Christopher.
You were born on a rainy day in 1982. I know you remember because you were born like a little old man. You came fresh out of the birth canal with wise eyes and you casually appraised the hospital room, watching, watching, looking around, absorbing your new surroundings.
I called you the Watcher.
Of course these titles are both right and wrong. You have always been the Watcher, but you are so many things I never dreamed. You are the doer and the hiker and the runner and the student and the teacher. You are so many rich and amazing things rolled up into a single person, like we all are.
But back then neither of us realized this. You simply looked around the hospital room on that rainy day 30 years ago and silently inclined your head, not even thinking of wailing or crying like most babies.
Once upon a Christopher…
You were not a Christopher Robin with Winnie the Pooh and Piglet and Tigger and Rabbit.
You were Christopher Ryan and you were the Prince of our little woods.
You were the wild adventurer, building forts from sticks and logs, brandishing enemies with stick-swords, swinging on branches, ruling your kingdom like every forest prince does.
You drew picture after picture, long squiggly lines filled with miniature people, long epic tales depicted on your scrolls. Once you drew on a scroll of paper that stretched the length of our little house when rolled flat on our wooden basement floor. So many adventures in your mind, so much action!
You wrote stories, books, epic novels. Remember the snow fort war story about the kids in Alaska? (Of course you remember. I am the one that cannot recall the details except for the children building snow forts and…well, somewhere down in your bedroom behind the closed door and beneath the dust lies a manuscript which you once penciled diligently for hours upon woods hours, lost in imaginary worlds.)
I can’t tell all your secrets here because 30-year old men may not appreciate their mamas yammering on and on and on, telling all about their growing up years, so shall we quietly just look at the photos together, remember when and when and when, pointing at the pictures, laughing a little, perhaps even crying like I did three times yesterday when collecting and scanning them?
(There aren’t 30 photos, but almost that many. Guess I got a little carried away thinking about the 30 years which have passed, which have shaped you, which have guided you into the thoughtful and loving and beautiful person you are today.)
I wish we could be together today, Chris. To eat lunch. To perhaps bake an angel food cake with chocolate whipped cream. (tee hee. Remember how many of these we made on birthdays?) To swap stories of what’s happening in our lives. Although you are such a thoughtful son–you call us so much to share about your full life in California–every week I thank every twinkling star in the sky that you care enough to stay in touch, and to call regularly, sometimes even twice a week when something really exciting happens.
You read this blog almost every day, too, you angel, you sweet son–OK, I’m getting really mushy and a little teary-eyed too, and you’re probably rolling your eyes mightily now.
You grew to be independent yet caring, self-sufficient yet inclusive. I marvel at how your life seems to be going so well, how much we like Seunghye, how much your students appreciate you, how enthused you are about your research for your sociology dissertation.
May you continue through life with blessings, dear son.
Have a wonderful 30th birthday.
It’s a special day. You’re a special person…in the eyes of those that love you.