Archer turns ten years old today. What a journey he's taken us on during the last decade. We have learned so much from him and about him. It's no exaggeration to say that we would not be the same people, or the same parents, if Archer had not been our first-born. And I think we're better people and parents -- more compassionate, more patient, more excited by the wonder of our children and the possibilities for the future -- because of him.
For a boy who often doesn't seem to care whether he gets any affection or not, he has earned the love of so many people. The teachers and administrators at his previous school went out of their way to give him opportunities and encouragement. His sister adores him, and we're constantly surprised by what a celebrity he is among his peers.
I think all parents are just waiting for things to go south. We have been conditioned to believe that childhood is a golden age from which the fall is inevitable, and happens sometime around the time "teen" gets appended to their age. That may be; time will tell. But so far, Archer just gets more incredible.
Just now he popped into the room and volunteered, "I've got an idea for the party tomorrow. Maybe the guests could play Wii with us." We (who had already planned this, but hadn't told Archer about it) agreed with him that it was a wonderful idea. "OK!" he enthused, spinning and jumping as he does when really excited. And as he left to go back to his room, he paused halfway into the hall. "I'm glad you accepted my idea," he said.
When every instance of purposeful communication -- initiative, thinking about audience, expressing emotion, responding spontaneously -- is something special, you have the opportunity to be delighted by your child every day. That's life with Archer, and it's beyond our wildest dreams. Happy birthday, sweet boy.