Wednesday, September 8, 2010

for danny

Happy 24th Birthday, Dan!

I vividly remember when I delivered you, our second son.  Both Mike and Steve were born on their due date and you were due September 12, but you wanted to come out a little earlier, so when it was time, I stayed in labor for only three hours.  As the sun was rising, Elton John's Daniel was on the radio and I knew you were a boy for that was the chosen name if you were a male.  You were born with so much black hair - I had to check twice that you were mine, for just 15 months earlier, Mike was born a baldy.  Since the cord was wrapped around your neck, they had to take care of business immediately, and after awhile I held my newborn beautiful boy in my arms.  Danny, you were such a good baby and slept through the night at six weeks old. 
As a young boy you were very active and quite often made somersaults and handstands all around the house.  We spent an enormous amount of time at the various parks so you and your brother could spend your energies on all the equipment.  Many fathers would remark at how agile you were at such a young age (about 3 or 4) and when we went to Florida you just dove in the big pool - deep section, no less - and scared all the people, for they did not know you were an avid swimmer and were all so amazed. 
Your favorite pastime was playing Mario Brothers on Nintendo and we had to limit your exposure, otherwise you would be on it 24/7.  Today you play Warcraft. We would giggle when you tried so hard to get to higher levels and through tears, you kept playing until accomplishing your goals.  Persistance, perseverence and tenacity are your strengths.

Another thing you loved to do was dress up, not only for Halloween, but while watching your favorite shows.  As soon as we put in the tape for a movie, say, Ghostbusters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (of course, you were Donatello) Superman, Batman, et al, you promptly left the room, only to emerge in full costume as various characters.  When they shot at the ghosts, so did you.  You always entertained us.
You were only around 10 when you began pursuing roller blading and went all over the area to find places to do this, learning all the different transportation lines that would take you and P.J. to your destination.  You even competed in Janesville, travelling to various tournaments in other states.  How many trips did we make to Skate Shack? 
A little later, you were a student with your family in the American Taekwondo Association and became a 1st Degree Black Belt with us all.  We competed in various tournaments and you have loads of trophies to prove your expertise.  Your nickname in high school was Bulldog.  Enough said.
You never were one to show off and did not like taking pictures so I had to catch you in the moments.  Everytime I asked to see your pretty eyes, you closed them.  There was never a dull moment with you, dear son.  Once you went to the pond at the end of our subdivision and were gone for hours and as I went to retrieve you I saw you walking down Green Valley Road with a huge garbage can loaded with toads and snakes you collected from the pond as well as a huge snake wrapped around your neck.  Another time you carried a gigantic snapping turtle all the way home.  He could have snapped your arm in half, but you were on a mission. 

Danny, you are an excellent drummer, having taken lessons at ProAm for eight years, and again in Junior High School, where you performed many percussion instruments much to our amazement.  How many paradiddles have you done in your life already? 
As you became a teenager, you joined with the Harmony of Lies band and gave us such a thrill to be your groupies and follow you to all the places you played - North Beach, Double Door, outdoor festivals, Mike's birthday party at Arabian Farms, just to name a few.  We have the CD you made and play it often in remembrance.  Your band practiced at our home for a long time, twice a week for over a year, and we enjoyed every minute.  Thanks for letting us share your moments.
As a middle child, you are more open with your friends than family and we diligently tried not to make you feel left out or ignored.  Sitting on the dock fishing in Michigan captures your pensiveness, the quiet serenity and way you keep things private.  You did not want your peers to know how intelligent you really were in school (but your teachers and parents knew better) and were very bored until you found the challenge you require in DePaul University, where you are spreading your wings, getting ready to fly and conquer your world.  You are a perfectionist, but lighten up a little.
This is my all-time favorite picture of you, with your brother, Mike.  As unique as all three sons are, you are deeply bonded.  You are blessed to have brothers of the heart in Cody, Rudy, Casey, as well as many others, but family is family.  You may not recognize the strength yet, but someday you will see how important it is.  Until then, continue to feel our love and know we always have your back.  Cherish these days as you begin your journey in the world.  Laugh with Darcy, live at home as long as you need (chuckle here) and love, and let us love you back.
Celebrate your new year and make big plans.  These are busy times, finishing college, bartending for a buck, maintaining relationships.  Dream big, keep playing your beloved DWs, and most of all, be happy.  You deserve goodness and greatness.  Be your best.  We love you. xo

Daniel, you're the star
in the weight of the sky...

We'll celebrate with you on Friday.