Nine.

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Sunday was Liam's 9th birthday. Nine. Almost a decade. In ten years he'll be nineteen. The downside of having children at a relatively young age is that even if you are younger that most of their friends' parents, it doesn't matter. It's almost unfair.

His birthday fell on a very discomforting day, with the passage of an unpopular bill that will do some unflattering things to small businesses like Chris's, a silly bill that ties health insurance to employment instead of empowering the people and giving it as a tax credit to the people so that they can get the best price for themselves on an open, competitive market. I mean hail, how much do you think toilet paper would cost (to say nothing of the quality) if there was only Government Brand X toilet paper as opposed to having Charmin, Angel Soft, and whatever else compete for the best quality and lowest price?

It's a ridiculous analogy and you get it and I don't mean to blow politics up your butt, but if you want more you can go here.

Anyway.

More importantly, my baby. He opens doors for ladies regularly and is big enough to do it. He opens my car door for me. I want a thank you note from his future wife because whoever she is, YOU SO OWE ME. Liam is an unbelievable gentleman.

We went into the Sprint store the other day to have battery pads put into my Pre. While there, one of the employees recognized us from our previous visit only a month ago to pick up car chargers and recounted for us a story about what Liam did the last time we were there:

The last time we were there, there also was another customer, a man in uniform, a soldier, fresh off a tour in Afghanistan, along with his mother. He was there upgrading his service. Liam, without any prompting from anyone, walked over to him, saluted him, and thanked him for his service. The man's mother began to cry and thanked him. The soldier saluted back and Liam wandered back to where Chris and I were, standing at the service counter talking to the Sprint reps, totally oblivious to what just happened. Liam didn't tell us but every single employee and all the other customers in that store saw him do it.

We heard about it during the last visit. I cannot tell you how it swells my heart with love and pride for a boy to do something like that, and not think it so out of the ordinary that he has to tell his parents. It's a blessing to hear about your child's good behavior and manners from someone else. You know that what you're doing is sticking and that they're of strong enough character to do it without you being around or without accolades .

That's his character. I don't know what I did right (isn't parenthood such trial and error?) but that gives me both a bit more confidence in my ability as a mother and a lot of thankfulness for such a soft-hearted soul that is my son.

Happy birthday Liam.
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