To my son on his birthday…

Dearest Israel,

How appropriate it is that I should spend this early morning hour in contemplation of you, my son. While you are asleep and murmuring in your bed, your father is pacing the floorboards of the front room…  thinking on his young son, and the days still to come.

From crawling babe to striding boy, you have flung yourself headlong into full-fledged boyhood.

“…but now I am Six, I’m as clever as clever…”

Now you are six. A good age for a boy. You retain so many of the trappings of innocent infancy, while tilting towards the windmills of a distant adolescence. You are still allowed to weep your displeasure, yet are expected to gird yourself in a winsome mimicry of novitiate manhood. Indeed, now you are six.

As with your sister, your pattern of physiological development tends towards a lean and angular build.

With well-built shoulders and long arms, narrow hips and powerful legs, you have the makings of an athlete. Nevertheless, you are of an easy and amiable posture with no discernable sense of fashion… save for that of comfort. Your shirttails are ever-untucked and long golden-brown bangs often fall carelessly into your dark bronze eyes. Nowhere are you more at home than under the shade of a tree, gazing shoeless into the blue heavens above.

The continued strivings of your elder sister towards a greater personal independence have not been lost on you, as I have noticed your own inclination towards your own interests as well. While your sisters are content to pursue activites of a more “girlish” bent, you have taken these reprieves of their dotings to harbor yourself into long moments of quietude.

I recall a recent occasion upon which your sisters, having overlooked you for longer than a moment, were unable to find you in either the upstairs or downstairs of our Annapolis house. When they brought this to my attention, I hastily searched both indoors and out, bellowing your name. It was not until I sat down in my office, about to telephone a neighbor’s house, that I discovered you had crept to a hidden corner under my desk. There you were, eyes closed, my mp3 player reverberating music out from headphones that covered your ears.

Such is a frequent indicator of a path that your personality might lead.

I have, on more than one occasion, read of people whom posses a certain quality of charisma, that are so easily drawn towards solitude in a strange seeming contradiction of their natural ability to draw others around them. If such a principle bears any reflection of reality, then I have scarcely seen it more personified than in you.

Israel, you already possess a strong nascent quality of drawing people, even if they have only begun to know you. Be they teachers, peers, relatives, or even (on certain occasions) complete strangers…  there is something in you that seems to inspire a certain (for lack of a better word) devotion towards you. It is really quite strange to behold, and I have made numerous efforts into understanding as well as rationalizing my observations in this matter.

Coupled with such bright traits of sweetness and affection, there resides a powerful dark side. In a like manner to how tender and loving you so often are, is an equally simmering tenacity that can erupt into a blinding rage. What little discipline your child’s mind possesses serves you well, for it is rare enough to protect you from the severity of your father’s reprisals. All the same, I sense much more than you have craft of concealing from me…  and I foresee many battles ahead for the two of us.

There resides in you such boundless creative and dynamic energy. You have a ravenous mind and indomitable spirit. I sense, in you, the potential for greatness. Be it a terrible “greatness” or that of a far nobler timbre. I see a wealth of crude material for the Master’s loving hand to craft into the art of a man’s life.

You will shine forth something in your days, my son; I pray that the LORD Almighty will grant me the wisdom and strength to guide you well. May you, in time, find a far greater Father than I in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.

I love you, my precious son, and I wish you many happy returns to this day of your birth.
.

Your devoted father,
Matthew

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