Our giant poodle, Tammy bit this ball, so the air deflated. John put the remains on his head as a helmet, and he brought over the other scrap and placed it on your head.
Everything about this, from your little ID bracelet, to your curls and tearful lips, to Dad's own kiss against your cheek, and a hand big enough to cross your whole belly--it grabs a hold of me.
I took this picture with an old 35 mm with manual focus. It's a second in time, captured forever.
This family photo snapped in a one click photo by a photographer who had photographed the entire family. The ornery scowl on your face, in your Smurf sweats, is because you were annoyed we stopped you for this picture rather than racing to the playground, which we did right afterward.
This is you sitting on Dad's side of the bed, hugging Kari on the day she was born.
Oh, yes. Always the co-operator. That's before we built the family room, when there was just a little bedroom off the dining room.
Blowing out candles with James and your cousin:
Teasing Miss Maria after work, James as tiny photo bomber:
Me and you and him, November 1, 1980.
And a beautiful family photo from last year:
Daniel? You, whom I have loved since I was an 18 year old girl? You and me and Dad and John?
In this whole entire world, there is not one single person I love more than I love you.
This annoys your brothers and sisters because somehow they twist it around to mean that I love them less.
I do not love them less than I love you.
How are these things actually measured?
Thank you for being brave enough to venture into a family as young and inexperienced as this one.
Thank you for your kindness and generosity, for laughing along with us, and saying, "Awww," in the right places, for working hard and being a fine example of devotion and dedication to your own family.