years ago today my son debuted on planet earth (at the time he did sort of seem alien to me). And he’s been the most important noun in my life ever since. He challenges me to step up my game and be a better human being. Over the years his existence made me shift my priorities and reassess my value system. He’s softened me up quite a bit, and I’m not talking about this big ol’ belly of mine. I smile more and I play more and I write more. And we all do more. Museums, parks, shows – we’re out and about almost every weekend. More often than not, and probably more often than that, life with Dev is fun and rewarding.

As he gets older we as a family breathe deeper. Much of the urgency of the early days are gone, and not by luck. Rather, it was hard work, making hard decisions, and lots of ooey gooey love. I think about the parents out there who have two and more and I commend them because my one felt like a handful, not so much these days though. Would I be able to handle another kid? Of course! I’ve earned my stripes and I could do it again. We probably won’t, but we could. At least mentally we could. Financially our non-profit and social service commitments keep us from expanding our family. But the future is unpredictable so I’ll never say never.

I find myself sitting here looking over Dev’s birthday plunder getting all weepy. Not because I’m moved by his big day, though I suppose I am, but because he now has 4 or 5 new Lego toy sets that literally total thousands of pieces. What he wanted most was things to build with, and we obliged in grand form. Mommy hasn’t the patience for all the tiny blocks, so it will be me assisting and explaining the instructions to the boy. Me alone. All by myself, with Dev. Forever. Building. Stuff. I wouldn’t have it any other way… Unless we could somehow throw Key West into the mix. Building. In Key West. Better.