Today is my son’s birthday. Nathanael (Nate) is a fine young man…smart, handsome, creative, musical, dedicated to his family, a loving husband and father. He excels at his chosen profession, being a top rate police officer who helps to keep his community safe and trains other officers. He is continually learning so that he can teach others. It has been wonderful to see him achieve what he’s wanted to do ever since he was a young boy. I am very proud of him.
Today, although it was one of his scheduled days off, Nate taught a class for other officers. Which meant, I got to pick up his little daughter from school. Because it was her daddy’s birthday, she quickly had an afterschool snack and then wanted to shop for a card and gifts for her father. Since the boys weren’t with us, Aubrey became the “designated shopper” for the kids, a role she took quite seriously.
Aubrey and I dashed into Target to make her purchases so we could get her home before her daddy arrived. I love shopping with young children. They are so earnest, so heart-centric, in their desire to gift a loved one. I give them free reign on making purchases and rarely have to offer guidance.
Aubrey looked at a couple of cards and then asked where the cards were that played music when you opened them. I pointed her in the right direction and she immediately found the perfect card. It had Spongebob Squarepants on the front, and when the card is opened, the quirky sponge sings Happy Birthday. Aubrey was delighted with her choice, and opened the card often while we continued birthday shopping, giggling every time Spongebob broke into song. It was even more humorous when I remembered that a week ago, I embarrassed this sweet child by singing that very same song for a free meal at McDonald’s!
Next were gifts. Aubrey very thoughtfully chose a gift card to a restaurant for her dad to use while he’s patrolling and needs a lunch break. And then she headed to the T-Shirt section. Aubrey found the perfect shirt. On the front were Minions, from the Despicable Me movies, with the phrase Ba Ba Ba Ba Banana on it. She loved it. I’m sure her dad did too.
Aubrey signed her name to the singing card and Joey and Oliver added their names as well when we arrived at the house. I know Nate and his family had a very fun evening, celebrating his birthday. And I know Nate celebrated his family, because that’s the type of man that he is. In fact, as I drove home after dropping Aubrey off, I was reminded of a tremendous gift that Nate has given his little girl. It is a story that Aubrey has asked to hear many, many times, and now shares with others. She loves to tell how her daddy hoped for and wished for a daughter, and then she was born and his wish came true. I am so proud of my son for giving this true and enchanting story to his daughter. It is so vital to the heart of a young girl to know that she was wanted and then that she is seen and appreciated for who she is. It is so important to know that being a girl is perfect, in her father’s eyes. That tender story brings such a look of fierce pride to Aubrey’s face that it brings tears to my eyes. Nate’s gift will carry his girl into adulthood, and she will always know that her dad wanted a daughter, and was proud of the girl that she was. I have no doubt that he will be proud of the woman she becomes.
Nate is also an awesome stepdad to his two boys and his quiet strength and authentic love bolsters their confidence in who they are and will accompany them on their journey to manhood. It is equally as important that boys have someone to look up to, to mirror, and to learn from. They need to be seen as well, and applauded for their accomplishments and taught how to use their awakening strength.
Well done, Son. I am honored to be your mom. You teach me by your example. I love you. Many, many more happy birthdays for you!