My son gave me a birthday card that his mother signed. This morning, however, he gave me a card that he signed all by himself and he even added “I love you,” which he also penned alone with his novice hand. I could see the careful effort in each letter. It was the best birthday gift that I’ve ever been blessed enough to receive. The card was a gift that to me represented the health and happiness of my growing and changing son. I couldn’t imagine a better way to start another year of life on this earth. His milestones are now how I measure my years.?

It’s strange how age and maturity allows you the lens through which you can see what is really important. I remember a birthday some years ago when the latest pair of Jordan’s was set to debut. I had a lead on where I could get the hottest sneakers on the planet the day before (Feb. 24th) and therefore be the first person to have them in school, and on my birthday no less. I paid a ridiculous sum for sneakers, and I got plenty of attention for having them on the next day. But by February 26th literally everyone and their mother in the ‘hood had the darn things. My fame and false sense of individuality lasted a full 24 hours. I chalk that up to the ignorance of youth.

Today I received a card from my son, a kiss from my wife, a call from my dad, a hug from my mother, and all of my brothers remembered it was my birthday. It was all love. What more can a grown man ask for?