My son Tom is a very lucky boy, writes Ben Keenan.
He has parents who love him more than they will ever completely comprehend who still burst into tears of joy at the mere suggestion of his smile.
He has grandparents who adore him with equal passion to our own and great grandparents who are constantly astonished by him. He has an uncle and aunt who love him and love to be in his company as he reminds them of the time their own babies where much smaller, and cousins who stare at him like he were a goodwill ambassador from another planet, sent down just for them to enjoy sharing toys, painting pictures and reading books.
He has two great aunts who I imagine start almost every conversation they have with news of the boy’s progress, family who are close even though we are separated by an ocean and an extended family of friends who love and admire the boy with the same gusto as if they were bonded by blood. All this attention is a thing of beauty which moves me deeply, but when I think about how lucky Tom is, we’ve barely scratched the surface. My son was born in a clean hospital full of remarkable professionals. His life has been 11 months of constant positive re-enforcement. He is surrounded by inspirational people and has a world of inspirational places to explore. He has been born into a world where absolutely anything is possible if approached with the right attitude and has the chance to be anything he wants to be, safe in the knowledge that the world’s most loving safety net is positioned just beneath his feet. But Tom’s not the only lucky boy in this story. Whenever I look at my son I think about my parents and how the way I look at Tom must have been the way they looked at me and my brother. The world is full to the brim with sounds and lights and chaos but during those rare moments of calm when we can stop and look around us, there is so much beauty in the world we can encourage our children to embrace. Aren’t we lucky!