Nineteen years ago, the day after my own birthday, you yawled your way into the world with those big, brown eyes, clear heart, and the wide wonder of childhood. You chased your sister once you could crawl, then walk, then run. And then you reluctantly welcomed another sister when she took your place as the last DeMuth. (Oh how much estrogen!)
You could concentrate for hours on little Aidan projects. Legos. Trains. Figurines needing painting. Games. And you still have this amazing trait, this ability to work-work-work at something you love.
You braved the nation of France with its strict teachers and different playground rules. You stood up for yourself, learned a new language, and made friends. And if that wasn’t enough, you transitioned back to the USA into two different elementary schools. You learned to thrive.
You pioneered the funding of a well on the red-dirted streets of Northern Ghana. You made friends there, even as a sixth grader. But more than that, your heart made an impression–that there was a 12-year-old on the other side of the world that cared about folks having water. You spoke about this crazy adventure to a group of high school kids numbering one thousand. I could not see your nervousness; you carried yourself so well.
You picked up the trombone, and then the euphonium with the same kind of Aidan-born dedication, playing in contests, concerts, and winning awards. You lead your section as a servant, and eventually became band president. You made great friends, friends that stick with you now, because you value them, and you value relationship.
You graduated, got a full ride scholarship (woohoo!) and started school at UNT, making the Dean’s List while working a 30-hour a week job. Now nineteen, you have your whole life spread pristine in front of you.
I can see you finding success. I can see the traits that birthed in you giving you wings–things like compassion, empathy, sacrifice, stick-to-it-tiveness, generosity, friendship-valuing and focus. Keep these traits close to you. Don’t let them go. They will make you stand out in a world bent on me-first economics.
Happy 19th Birthday, dear Aidan. We love you more than words.