my cowboy

cowboy weejeeham!, originally uploaded by pilgrimgirl.

Dear GameBoy:

So tomorrow is a big day for my big boy. Another birthday! I've loaded up a few fun pictures here for you to enjoy, to tell part of the story of how special you are to me and to our family (click on the photo above to see more pics).

You have many passions, but the one that seems to override all of them is your love for other people. You've been a devoted big brother and a joy to your Dad and me. Above all, your smile can melt away any grumpiness around you. You have the gift of making others feel happy. And you tell great jokes, too!

One of my favorite memories of you happened when you were just a wee one. You appeared one afternoon in the living room with a cowboy hat and vest on and announced that you was no longer yourself, instead you were "Cowboy Weejeeham!" We soon discovered that the cowboy had many adventures. He appeared often and shared his stories, some of which we've recorded in a book. Cowboy had a sidekick, a young boy named Kree, and a horse, and a bird that followed him everywhere. When we relocated from Utah to California, Cowboy Weejeeham and his posse went on ahead of us to clear the way of any potential dangers. We felt so happy to have the brave Cowboy as our loyal family friend!

One thing that makes this birthday year particularly bittersweet for me, is that I can't help but reflect back to when I turned your same age. Just five days before my birthday I was diagnosed with bone cancer. The day before my birthday I received the news that my leg would be amputated soon. When I was released from the hospital on my 'special day' I came home to a house full of balloons, gifts, and friends who'd gathered for a surprise party. What I remember about that day was that I was so ill (having already started chemotherapy) that I was unable to even take a few sips of 7-Up, much less eat cake or any other treats. I couldn't open my gifts because my arms & hands were bandaged with thick layers of gauze (the chemo caused swollen red lumps and sores where it had leaked from my veins into the surrounding tissue). I appreciated the attention of my friends and family members, but what I most wanted was to rest, to be away from the celebration. To have time to make sense of how my world had completely turned upside down and would never be the same.

Many years later my world completely turned upside down again when you were born, Buddy. It has never been the same again and that is precisely what brings me so much joy now. On the day you were born your father and I learned just how big love can be. And we continue to learn that each new day we spend with you.




Stephen said...

Happy birthday indeed! Happy birthday.

SoCalSingleMama said...

Happy Birthday, Gameboy!

Jana, your account of your own thirteenth birthday was touching and brought me sadness and hope at the same time - I felt sad for how much hurt (physical, emotional, social, and spiritual) you must have endured. Hope because I see you now as someone very grounded, with so much strength, and who has found joy in life (picturing you with your family as well as hearing your infectious laugh as we played Apples to Apples at someone else's birthday celebration....) Gameboy may not know for another decade or so what a great mom he has, but hopefully he's caught a glimpse, even though he's just a very young teenager. :-)

Bekah said...

Happy Birthday Gameboy! He is such a cool cowboy, one of my favs. I have had some of the best conversations with him, I love his insight. From what I've seen, he knows his mom is topnotch. I love you guys!