Closeup of frosted chocolate cake with cherry on top

The first month of the year is winding down, after a hectic holiday season. January is also a month where winter tends to settle in and remind everyone of why warmer should be appreciated.  The next big holiday is Valentine’s day. In our houselhold, we have a holiday before February 14th as we celebrate my son’s birthday. He will have a cake and a few presents. We will also go out to eat and have a quiet celebration.

Birthday presents with birthday card propped in front

For myself, I find it hard to believe that so many years have gone by since his birth. On my desk, there is a picture of me holding him after we had gotten home from the hospital. There is another picture of him at the age of five or six, smiling for the camera,  holding a plastic cup with a cartoon character on it. It’s been many years since the pictures were taken, but sometimes it feels like I can step through a door and see him as that little boy. Now, he has grown into a thoughtful young man and I am proud of him for the difficulties he has overcome to get to where he is.

Man blowing out candle on birthday cake

There are still some hurdles to deal with, for him, his father and myself. When there are difficult days, I remind myself of how much he has done and of his strengths. The future isn’t as clear for us, there isn’t a clearly defined path because of the problems, but I can see that we have always moved forward, even if not quite at the same rate as other families with their children. Who knows what the next decades will bring as he grows and finds more of his place in the world.

Pictures by J.T. Harpster, prints of some of his photos can be purchased at