Birthday Boy

When Billy was a toddler, he liked to get up between his father and I. He would grab us by the head and pull us in so that we three would all have our head resting on each other. It was sweet.

Bill deployed a few days after his third birthday. Billy didn’t do this with just me – it was something he did with all three of us. As time went on, I completely forgot about it. Bill returned a few days before his fourth birthday. Several weeks later, we took a train from Philadelphia to Orlando for one of the worst vacations of my life (it’s another story, and so is my trip to Paris which ranks as the worst trip). At one point, Bill and I were sitting on aisle seats opposite each other. Billy stood in the aisle, his head on level with ours, and pulled us close. Suddenly, I remembered that he used to do it all the time, and I’ve never forgotten it since, though that was the last time he ever did that.
That little boy turned 8 yesterday. He declared it was the best birthday ever. With Billy, everything is “the best” or “the worst.” It’s tough to be the second son, especially when your brother is less than two years older. But where Fritz has taught me everything I know about unconditional love, Billy has taught me the magic of the multiplication of love. It is not that my love is divided between my children but that our family love increases.

Happy birthday, big guy.

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