Eleven years ago, I was a graduate student who loved a baby before she saw her, who believed anything was possible, and who had the support system to make it work.

Exactly eleven years ago, a boy was born in place of that baby girl and my life went whirling down a completely unanticipated, sometimes thrilling, sometimes exhausting, sometimes terrifying path that no one can ever prepare for.

Such is parenting.

I have an eleven year old man-child who is sprouting hair under his arms (as he tells everyone he meets), can load a mean dishwasher, makes "famous" toasted cheese sandwiches, gets up to his own alarm, loves to write and illustrate detailed and complex stories, is the best kicker on his football team, and can pin a bigger boy in minutes. He's a ham and a sweetheart and a helper.

My son. I am thankful every day that he was trusted to me so many years ago.

Today is about doing all the things he loves: baking cakes and other treats for him to share with his friends later, eating pizza and playing football (with glow sticks, no less) with his friends, and spending time with his family.

We are lucky to have him, and we can't wait to find out what age 11 holds in store.

Happy birthday Javi!


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