My son, Ryan, shares his birthday with his grandma and Vincent Van Gogh.
He also shares his March 30th birthday with Norah Jones, Celine Dion, M. C. Hammer, Paul Reiser, and Eric Clapton.
It’s an eclectic list.
Like Norah Jones and Celine Dion, my son can sing with passion and fervor, as he belts out powerful renditions of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and ”The Wheels on the Bus.”
My son is happy to dance and “bust a move” like M. C. Hammer. It doesn’t matter if his audience is mommy or the neighborhood, as he dances on the sidewalk in front of our home. He’ll walk backwards and try to moonwalk. He’ll shake his tushie, reach his arms to the sky, and dance with his whole body.
Like Paul Reiser, my son likes to make people laugh. Sometimes it’s overtly - a tickle to Mommy’s feet. Sometimes, it’s a look, a tilt of the head, a scrunched up nose, or closed eyes as he attempts to wink.
Channeling Eric Clapton, my son picks up his toy guitar and strums a tune like his life depended on it. He doesn’t play with merely his hands or his fingers, but with his whole body. A chord is played and my son’s feet move, his back arches, his head sways.
Like Van Gogh, my son loves to express himself with vibrant colors. Purple-grape sidewalk chalk to adorn our back patio with Ryan’s name. Blueberry-tinted marker to draw a portrait of Mommy. Red-strawberry construction paper hearts to cut out and give to those we love.
And, like Grandma, Ryan has an infectious laugh. A laugh that most often leaves him in hiccups afterwards. A laugh that makes everyone around him smile and join in. Ryan, like grandma, is big on displays of affection - arms flung around my neck or blowing air kisses over the phone.
And though my son may share traits with all his “birthday buddies,” he is most certainly his own person. A boy who sometimes doesn’t like to receive a kiss and will instruct me to “take it back.” A boy who, unlike his Mommy, will put down a chocolate chip cookie to eat carrots instead. A boy who will put his left pointer finger to his cheek, tilt his head to one side, and says, “I think...”
With each passing year, I am more in awe of my son. Almost five years ago, this little boy wasn’t here.
With each passing year, I’m more and more honored. I get to be “Ryan’s Mommy.”
On March 30th, Ryan won’t be the only one blowing out candles on a birthday cake. But he’ll be the only Ryan.