James Sheppard Milner
Happy birthday, little man!
It’s so hard to believe you’re a year old. It seems like no time at all since we all held our breath the day your mom — my sister — was told during what was thought to be a routine checkup with the doctor that in fact, it may well be go time.
It was. And so those plane tickets I’d purchased to be there for your big arrival meant being there for your big day of turning a week old.
We landed at the airport to a text that we’d need to get an Uber because your mom was taking you to the pediatrician because you weren’t eating. Oh, that seems funny now, since you’re a pretty good eater except for, like your Uncle Dave, you’re a bit picky.
It’s been so much fun to watch you grow, and learn. You love books. I love to see how excited you get by someone reading to you.
You even enjoy watching “Jeopardy!” with your dad when he gets home from work.
And I can tell you’re done with this being-a-baby business. You’re ready to get on with it. In due time, you will, but we’ll all revel in this time a little longer.
It would have been so much fun to see you on your birthday. Your mom planned a special party for months — heck, maybe longer than a year.
“James’ First Rodeo” was going to be a big deal. She figured family from several states would be flying in.
Unfortunately, you weren’t the only thing to arrive in 2019. So too did the virus that later caused a shutdown that put everything on hold — even James’ First Rodeo.
Your mom asked all of us to write you and talk about the world in March 2020. Well, James, I’m not sure what to say. It’s a pretty scary time and place.
They even postponed baseball. Can you imagine? I hope by the time you’re reading this, they’ve never had to consider it again.
Life has been pretty scary for everyone these last few weeks, but you did get your smash cake, and through FaceTime I saw you take a few steps the other night.
And you better believe, as soon as conditions are better, I’ll be in Arkansas to celebrate your first birthday … plus a couple of months.
For better or worse, you were born into interesting times. Thankfully, you’ve got family who loves you. We’re going to get through this.