By the time the story hits my fingers it’s a roaring waterfall of words I cannot stop. This one is about you, looking up at him. Just before he died. It was his last race before the cancer returned. You look so small. Him, so big.
You fill doorways now. Your voice fills rooms. Your laughter fills the hearts of those who miss him and love you. Taller than even your grandfather, you are no longer a little boy looking up.
You turn seventeen this month. I am asked what you’d like for gifts, and I fight giving the answer that’s always in my heart—your father. Gift cards and games seem poor substitutes, yet that’s all you say you want. Or a sword. You’re practical like that.
I read an article yesterday about a neuroscientist’s research that showed autistics don’t lack empathy; in fact they feel more than others. They experience the world as a sensorial overload, taking in too much too soon. I cannot think of a better way to describe your sensitivity to the emotions (and information) around you, the people you love, and how you care for others. The way you just know things without ever letting on; it’s always left me dumbfounded.
You notice things so many people miss. I adore your texts telling me what you see on your daily commute. I hope I still get those no matter how old we get nor how far apart we live from one another.
Happy Birthday, bud. You truly are a gift and an amazing kid. I know teenagers get a bad rap from a lot of people, but I really do like mine. You make my world and the world in general a better place.