I’m always restrained when I write about Stefan (really, he is too good to be true), and he is essentially an understated person. He likes to fly below the radar. His English teacher is surprised by his muscles, “I thought you were just a literary sort,” while his track coach asked if he was thinking of going to college. Everyone at school was shocked by his ACT score–“I didn’t know you were smart!” and in the last few days he’s been inundated with, “You play the violin?”
But everyone, everyone, knows Stefan is kind, easygoing, a good friend. Never the center of the party, he skims the edges, asks questions, listens. People are important to him. And no one is more important than his family. No matter how immersed he may be in Physics homework, he’ll pause to jump on the trampoline with Mary, take out the trash, help Gabe tune the violin or discuss microbiology with Hans. He makes us laugh at the dinner table and weaves magical bedtime stories.
Because of his quiet personality, Stefan’s birthday has never been a big celebration. He never asks for anything, never makes demands or even requests and can scarcely settle on a favorite dinner (as long as we have bananas, peanut butter and bread in the house he’s happy). But for his eighteenth birthday today, I thought we needed a PARTY. For the last few weeks, I’ve been cutting, sewing, gathering supplies; I loved seeing his face light up when he learned it was for him.
On Stefan’s first birthday, I gave him this pillow:
He had a rough start in life and I could scarcely believe the fragile baby in the ICU had transformed into this giggling, running little boy. Somehow, the pillow survived several moves, various room assignments and all kinds of bedding changes; it sits on his blue chair serving as a book rest while he reads. Could there be a better theme for my almost-Spring boy?
Really good chocolate.
the final touches
Since Erik is out of town, the Linkouses livened up our party with additional silliness. Lucky Stefan, we’re throwing another party Thursday with Erik and his parents.
Happy Birthday sunshine Stefan, you are a blessing and a wonder. Did I stay muted enough? I didn’t write the smallest part of what I feel. Everyone else may be surprised by your accomplishments, but not me, I’ve always known you are magnificent.