Today would be Shepard’s thirteenth birthday. I’ve been thinking a lot about him in the last few days.
Sometimes, I think about the big events of his life – the night I came home to him having a massive seizure and having to make the call to 911, the night my mom came home from the hospital to tell us Shepard probably only had a few weeks to live, his funeral.
But this week, I’ve been thinking about him, who he was outside the context of the defining events of his life.
The way he called ranch dressing “white ketchup.”
How smooth his head felt when he had no hair.
The way he’d throw himself off the arms of the couches and chairs.
His attempts to carry 15-20 tiny matchbox cars simultaneously, using his hands, arms, and chin.
How much he liked pushing the feed button on the printer to get a few sheets of paper so he could go to the top of the stairs and drop them through the banisters, then run down, gather them up, and repeat the whole activity.
How much he and I looked alike as infants.
The way he’d tell my dad over and over, “Dis da last one” in order to get my dad to toss him up in the air just one more time.
The way his voice sounded when he called me “Woo-ie” (my mom calls me “Louis”).
The way he’d stand at the locked garage door (which led to the playroom) and sing, “OPEN THE GATES AND SEIZE THE DAY” at the top of his lungs so someone would let him out there.
Happy Birthday, Shepard.