Life Passes Much Too Quickly

Today is my oldest son's 40th birthday. How can that be? I was just 40, wasn't I? When I look at these pictures, in which I was a tender 20, I still feel when they were taken. I can feel the sun, the air, the grass and water.

It's odd when your child enters the age group of most of your friends. And Joel and I have built a beautiful friendship in recent years. I had him pretty young, so we've kind of grown up together. We've faced some of the fiercest trials life can dole out, and we've come out whole, sane, and happy. And we have quite a tale to tell...

Little Joel's life didn't begin easily, and it has continued to be difficult for him sometimes, but he keeps on believing that life works out in the long run. I admire his courage and his sunny humor. He has pulled me through the rough times. I hope that I have done the same for him.

I've always tried to be mindful that his life hasn't been a walk in the park. I've tried to teach him that circumstances and happenings, good or bad, aren't the most important things in life, that having family and friends who love us unconditionally are. And everyone has always loved Joel. He is a magical being from his very soul. He has always been special.

I don't think he'll mind me telling you that he has Asperger's Syndrome, a high-functioning autism, which only adds to what makes him so magical and special. He perceives life very differently than you and I do. It is something that doesn't show up right away in a child. It was standardized as a diagnosis only as recently as 1994, so neither Joel nor I, nor his doctors, knew why he was different from other children his age. Being from a highly creative family, he was celebrated for his eccentricity and jaw-dropping creativity. Our family spills over with those qualities, so he fit right in from his very first breath.

Joel is the quiet strength in our home. I cannot picture him in my mind without seeing his beautiful smile and sparkling eyes, and hearing his laughter. He is Uncle Joel to Lynette's kidseven the cat regards him with the utmost respect. Is that because he's a Leo?

The only thing I can complain about is that he just grew up too darned fast. I always tell parents with young children to hold onto the first nine years because once they hit their first double-digit birthday, it's basically over in an eye blink. Those first nine years seem to crawl, but those that come after fly by so quickly it makes your head spin.

So happy birthday my darling, precious son. Words cannot express the love I feel for you. Thank you for coming into my life and filling it with your special light. May you feel especially "Tinked" today!

I love you.