"Be silly. Be honest. Be kind." When I came across these words by Emerson a few days ago, I immediately thought of Daniel, my middle child who turns twenty today...not so much of a child anymore, I guess.
Daniel is all of these things...one of those amazing people that doesn't realize just how special they are, how gifted and talented and smart, that has high standards and refuses to change for anyone...one of those people who doesn't try to impress anyone and so sometimes gets overlooked in favor of those who do. He is what you see, but so much more, too...there's much more to him than he lets on to most people. He has the kindest heart...a quandary for a mother, because a kind heart is easily hurt and can be hardened...I pray he can protect his heart, can remain kind without becoming jaded.
In kindergarten, his teacher called us in tears. He had gotten in trouble for something, but instead of acting remorseful when scolded, he just acted silly, which of course got him in more trouble. It took us awhile to understand it from his point of view...his teacher was upset and he was just trying to make her laugh...make her happy. I think we finally convinced him that when he got in trouble, the WORST thing he could do was try to make the teacher laugh.
He still does it with me, though...and it usually works. He makes me laugh even when I don't want to...which is why I thought of him when I read this quote, too..."A good laugh is sunshine in a house."(William Makepeace Thackeray) He's always been that way...in his baby book, under "Two months old" I jotted, He's a real joy. Smiles, laughs, and 'talks' a lot. Really entertaining. Tommy says 'Dan'l's funny!'
He did finally learn that being entertaining in school could get you in trouble, so he always kept a book with him to read when he finished his work (ahead of everyone else)...ironically, he sometimes got in trouble for reading too much! It's hard to get sympathy for that from other parents.
I knew I wouldn't be able to see him today, so yesterday I went downtown and took him to lunch. He'll be able to come home next weekend and we'll really celebrate - he requested an ice cream cake (ice cream and Oreo cookies and whip cream) and dinner at True Grits, a local restaurant that serves chicken fried chicken with cream gravy...his favorite. He's also one of those skinny people that can eat whatever they want and not gain weight...
Here's Daniel around 18 months old...my dad called him "Rooster" because of his wild curly hair just on the top of his head ...
For months Daniel always wore this denim jacket, hat, and bicycle gloves - he was and still is such a character - but such a wonderful big brother, too, here giving Kendall a ride on the tricycle...(tomorrow I'll post the pictures from lunch yesterday)
Happy 20th Birthday, Daniel!!!