Five years ago on his Granddaddy’s birthday in Alabaster, Alabama, another boy joined our family. We named him Gabriel Joseph McCollum and soon took him home. Within a week our world turned upside down as our baby got sick and we didn’t know if he would live. Those were dark days. I will never forget the first time his eyes opened and looked at me again after days of no response. Light broke through the darkness. And those eyes have captured me ever since, with their sideways glance and the glint that looks like a laugh ready to escape at any moment. There is a gift that comes with having a sick baby. It is an appreciation for things we take for granted. When the possibility of not having them becomes real, they are each occasions for celebration–breathing without help, maintaining body temperature, eating without difficulty, having a healthy cry, coming home again. There were many celebrations along the way, and still they come, and our baby grew and the year passed and we joyfully celebrated his first birthday with a farm party.And he learned to walk and laugh and tease. He is a happy boy who loves to have fun. He can usually go from tears to laughter pretty quickly.We moved to Minnesota on his 2nd birthday. He was not a fan of the cold that first year. He took a long time to learn to talk, but once he started he had no trouble at all. “Where is my kiss?” I would ask. And he’d laugh and point. “Over there!” he’d say. And he called Chewbacca Chew-button and the refrigerator he called the refrigalater. And we would read stories and talk about them as the days slipped by.He got a bike and learned to coast along. He started walking part of the way on our nature walks. He’d sit on the counter while I cooked and sit outside with Adam straining his eyes to catch a glimpse of our neighbor Emily in hopes that she would come over and play. And all the while the sideways look, the mischievous glint, and the joyful smile remains.And now we celebrate his 5th birthday with a farm party he has been planning for months. And our once sick baby is planning ahead and thinking of being a farmer when he gets grown up so he can bring us eggs and milk and other food so we don’t have to go to the store. And he will start school this year. I wonder how we will make it through a lesson since we can hardly get through morning prayer without him laughing over something. But laughter is good medicine and he brings a sparkle to our family that is very special. And tonight as I tucked him in I told him about the day he was born. And when I finished he said, “Now tell me the story about the time you took me to the hospital and you cried.” And we remembered together those days and the happy day I called from the hospital to say we were coming home. Happy birthday, Gabriel. We love you.