All of my children have received a birthday poem on their birthday, a tradition my grandfather started for me at age three when I first learned to read. My youngest son Richard Patrick Ridley, one of the brightest kids you will ever meet and a great swimmer received this. I thought many of you would enjoy.
Ricky at 14
A caterpillar may view the day as the end of a path,
But to the butterfly it is the beginning of a new artistic craft,
Like the crab or lobster who too becomes far too confined,
And sheds his shell to free from the cramping bind,
Or the hermit crab who not only molts his shell,
But must find another larger shell in which to dwell,
Even the lowly serpent we almost always despise
Knows when to shed his skin or face an early demise,
Wings not used slowly wither and then die
Never to soar to new to new success ever high
My son, a lamp of learning to chase away the shadows of dark
Each year still not in motion hits or passes each and every mark,
On the 15th turns the ripe young age of 14,
A handsome, fit, and very smart young teen.
It is still too early to know how far you will be above the crowd,
But your character, manners, and goals make your father so very proud.
From the first day hooked to all manner of tubes separated from us by glass,
You have surged forward each year, each day to surpass.
Today my wish for you as you watch the wisps rising on a 14—candled cake,
That you are touched by His Grace and watched over by the Lady of the Lake.
Although I could rhyme on and on about your wins and lack of defeats,
No birthday poem could ever be complete.
Without symbols of history on the earlier day you chose to arrive
The Crusaders regained a holy site to allow Christianity to survive,
The first Europeans came ashore on your father’s adopted land,
And the stone of our linguistic roots was uncovered in the sand,
Spirituality, Adventure, and Learning—a trinity of a man’s worth
So fitting, all on the very same day of your early birth.
As you blow out the candles, your father bursts with pride,
His love, prayers and thoughts will today and always be by your side.
© Michael P. Ridley