It has been a year since you joined our little tribe of friends. You, my littlest buddy, were a bonus baby, revealed to us over chips and queso and a good helping of disbelief. But now, all this time later, it doesn't seem as there could have been a world without you. Your smile, your giggles, your snuggles... they are a gift to us all. And the greatest gifts are always unexpected.
As the third baby, it's easy to get lost in the shuffle, to blend in, to take the backseat. This is the great joke among all babies of the family. We are the wearers of hand-me-downs. We are the tag-a-longs. We are the rock-kickers and foot-stompers, and sometimes we're the odd men out. We are often last at most things, and being "too little" is often our cross to bear.
But we are flexible. We are independent. We find a way to manage. We might be the first to tears, but we're usually the first to pick up an extra hug. We are rarely blamed for the wrongs that we do because "how could someone so small cause such trouble?" We are protected and sheltered. We are the last to do most things, and that makes our mothers ache with love and longing. And sometimes ache and longing comes with a second helping of dessert or an extra story at bedtime.
We are a bonus. The sheer unexpectedness of us is a delightful surprise. In my casual study of the World of Last Babies, I've found that there are typically two paths. The first is the Showman; the second, the Shadow.
The Showman entertains large crowds because being little and cute is his greatest weapon upon the world. He uses his charm to outshine his competition. He is mischievous and unafraid because as the baby, he has learned to go for broke. He is loved because his light illuminates the world.
The Shadow is different. He is quiet and observant, taking cues from those around him. He is a people-pleaser who uses his peaceful nature and sweet smile to endear him to others. He is loved because his light illuminates the world within others even if it means less light for himself.
It's too early to know which you will be, sweet boy, but my hope is that you will be neither. Or that you will be both. That in whatever you do, you will defy expectations because the unexpected is such an adventure. Thanks for letting all of us tag along.
Happy Birthday, Kellen.