When you were little
We sat for hours
Playing with your Matchbox cars.
We separated them by color, speed, and function.
We pushed them along the carpet,
and the couch.
Your favorite was foot mountain,
erupting to an explosion of raspy giggles.
Your laugh was so contagious
your freckles bounced with each smile.
The sun warmed my face and
illuminated your scarlet hair.
Those chubby toddler cheeks,
perfectly placed freckles,
and raspy voice catapulted me into a love
I could have never imagined.
Thirteen years later,
your hair remains red
your freckles have multiplied
and your raspy voice has deepened.
You’ve moved past Matchbox cars
and will soon be driving your own.
I wish life was as easy and simple
as our Matchbox afternoons.
I wish I could compartmentalize, separate, classify things
Into categories so they are easy to understand,
easier to tolerate.
I wish I could build a track
avoiding hurt, disappointment, and uncertainty.
I wish we could just escape in a fit of giggles
And climb foot mountain
when you are stuck.
But I can’t.
I can guarantee that life is one long road trip
with you steering your own path.
I can guarantee that there will be bumps in the road,
yields, stops, road blocks, accidents, break downs, wrong turns,
acceleration and mechanical failure.
The passengers in your car will change and
you will keep on driving.
I can guarantee that although the journey is unpredictable,
there are great stops of beauty and wonder.
I can also guarantee that when you look in life’s rear view mirror,
you will see my reflection.
I will always be there
sometimes giving you direction,
other times letting you follow
your own map.
Your road trip is just beginning and I know your passions
your wit, your intelligence, your moral compass, and your heart
will guide you and fuel you in the right direction.
Buckle up, little brother,
turn the key,
push the gas pedal
feel the wind in your hair
and look in the rear view mirror…
Happy 16th Birthday,
I love you so very much.