Today is the eighteenth birthday of our eldest son, Daniel Taylor: musician, member of my very occasional prog band, economist, philosopher, theologian, intermittent blogger, and lover of sushi. He took his Grade 8 drums exam last week, so we made him this cake:
He’ll be taking Grade 8 piano in a month or two, as well — along with his A-levels. And his driving test. It’s a pretty crazy time for him. And for us as well.
Fiona and I are painfully aware that we’re in the last stages of bringing him up. Our influence is (quite rightly) waning. Our work is all but done. In six months or so, he’ll be gone to university; and then, although he’ll visit, we may never really get him back. This is tough stuff.
On the other hand, we can be pretty pleased with how he’s turned out. As we come to the eighteen-year threshhold, and one of the milestones of his independence, I look at the little boy that I watched under the heat-lamps of an incubator after his three-weeks-premature birth, and I see a man who I am pleased and proud to call a friend, and whose company I would seek even if I were not his father. He’s great company: full of ideas, and with lots of opinions based on solid facts. Creative, warm-hearted, insightful, and full of integrity. He’ll do well at university, academically and socially; and in Real Life, after that.
I’m taking a little bit of the credit for that, and Fiona gets some, too. With all due modesty, honesty compels me to admit that we’ve been pretty darned good parents. But the bulk of the credit, obviously, is Dan’s alone. We gave him a good environment, lots of conversation, plenty of books and computers, a culture of relentless inquiry and exploration, and some space to figure out what he made of it all without us constantly peering over his shoulder. But he did all the rest, and has made himself into a man that the world is lucky to have.
Happy birthday, Dan. Go into the world, and make it a better place. We’ll miss you, but we’ll be proud to have sent you flying out there (and always delighted to see you when we can).
Oh, great. Now I’m crying.