For Noah, On Being Twenty-Nine

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 hoped you’d be, and my hopes were grand.
Happy Birthday, my son, from your Father.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store