I can hardly believe it, but today is my son’s eleventh birthday. Back in 1995, we had no idea who we were bringing home with us. Like most babies, ours was able to do only the most rudimentary things. But like a Polaroid picture, Ben began to come into focus. We started to see the bright brown eyes and the ready smile. We saw the enthusiastic temperament. We saw him go from crawling to running in what seemed like a day. And we’ve watched him sort through a thousand things he likes to do, from playing with trucks, to playing sports, to playing his Game Boy, always asking questions, always reading everything he can, always smiling.
So today, Ben is a bright-eyed fifth grader attending Valentine Hills Elementary School. Ben is active in Scouting and sports. He will collect about five merit badges at his Cub Scout meeting tonight, and will collect his Webelos Arrow of Light, the highest honor that a Cub Scout can earn, early in 2007. It is an award his father never won. Ben plays baseball and basketball with great enthusiasm and is a valued teammate who maximizes his talent. As he has been for his entire life, he is a bundle of enthusiasms and a child who brings great joy to every room he enters. His spirit is strong, his mind always active. And his father couldn’t be more proud.