Instead of candles, cake, and paper hats
(which, let’s be real, would have been better)
I thought I’d walk you down a funny path,
(also : much easier than writing a letter)
but sitting here, too much time has passed
And now I’ve found all this regret :
birthdays missed, others dimmed, plans
changed, parties rushed, and I forget :
Did I hug you on your seventh ? Kiss
you on your eighth ? I remember chasing
you across a playground on your fifth.
Or maybe number four. Cameras flashing,
And a little gift I knew you’d like. I
was bad at surprises and you
were bad at acting surprised.
I know the trope : aging Pop looks
back and asks where’d it all go ?
Cat’s in the cradle and all that jazz.
I see you less now and there are days
When I can’t recall the last time we spoke.
But here’s a thing. You’re twenty-nine today
and that’s how old I was when you were born.
Does that matter ? I don’t know,
But I think it should, if only to say
There’s a point to this father and sonning,
This end and beginning, hoping then dimming :
a balance between the past and pretending
to know what torrential future is coming.
Well, I started soft then got softer,
but there’s this : You’re a better man
Than I’d hoped you’d be, and my hopes were grand.
Happy Birthday, my son, from your Father.