Maxwell Edward Gardner first entered my heart over the airwaves some 2000 miles away. Aunt Megan graciously held her cell phone so I could capture the first gentle baby noises of my grandson. My baby had just witnessed the birth of his baby, and a whole new world opened up.
We attended Max’s first birthday party over Skype and were honored to watch Max toddle around and open gifts and play with paper and boxes, as is the tradition of all children, it seems. By the time we moved back to Tucson from Leesburg, Virginia, Maxwell was eighteen months old blond hair and big blue eyes and a different expression every day. He wowed us with his curiosity in all things out of his reach and his wonderment at the small things that we adults forget about. Fluttering butterflies and puddles of rain water were at the forefront of his enjoyment, while we tend to put them on the back burner with usually a fleeting glance. Max would stop on our walk and crouch down to silently watch a butterfly tenderly landing on one bloom of a Bougainvillea and then another. And after his mind was satisfied with that display, he moved on to another, all the time taking it in and storing it in his memory to recall in a conversation later with mommy and daddy.
By age 3, Max was able to reason and explain himself like a high school graduate – only with cuter grammar! All through his five years, he has been a gentle, caring soul. Always tender with a hug and sweet word. As he has gotten closer to this milestone age of 5, he has mastered a dry sense of humor, the art of schmoozing and an imagination beyond his years. He takes great pride in his artwork and teaching me a song and entertaining a 2-year-old Abby. He has brought so much sunshine into my life.
Happy Birthday, Max. I can’t wait to see what you do in the next 5 years. But, let’s not have it go quite as fast. Deal? Your Nana wants to savor every moment.