Daniel turned 14 yesterday. Wow! 14!
When Daniel was born, my life was bare and pretty desperate. My life was definitely not in the best of circumstances. There was no baby shower or wonderful rejoicing by a large and loving family. Instead there was conflict. However, when the room finally emptied, there was only love. It didn’t matter what my extended family or church thought. It didn’t matter if anyone thought he was good or bad. He was my child and my love for him just existed. It wasn’t a choice, it was and still is a reality. Daniel had taught me my first lesson of motherhood. A mother’s love.
Later as my family clawed its way out of those desperate circumstances, it was the quirky little boy who embodied the value that each of us have, not for what we can do or be but just because we exist. He taught me another important lesson. Through my love for him, I began to learn to love myself and eventually others.
Daniel requires a lot of my attention, thought and emotion. However, I think I have required a lot of him too as I have learned to be a better person and mother.
Through our family’s struggles, my struggles and his own struggles, Daniel has shown up as an amazingly authentic and wonderful soul. Deep down he values the human connection. When it came to his birthday, there was not a grasping for a grand haul from extended family. Instead, when asked by his grandmother what he wanted for his birthday, he replied, “Just a birthday card would be nice and make sure to tell Grandpa Jim that I love him.” Daniel prefers a simple get together where he can eat his choice of cake – a giant chocolate chip cookie this year – and play video games with a couple of friends.
Daniel reminds me every day in some way that it doesn’t matter what the outside world’s evaluation is of each of us. We have value and something to offer. We all have love to give and are worthy of love.
So, happy birthday to my Daniel! Thank you for all the lessons you have taught me and all the love you have given and inspired.