Into a brilliantly sunny, blue-skied spring afternoon he was born, a day like today, although the daylight was filtered through the grimy window of an urban hospital and uncomplementary yellow glare of the fluorescent tubes above. One thousand miles away from here, he began to make his way, in his way, only and always. Golden curls changed to dark brown waves, brilliant blue eyes now are sea glass green, a finicky, hesitant baby now a confident young man who likes to play paintball, meet new people, and eat sushi.

On his 14th birthday, today, after for the thousandth time in the last few weeks he has heard me cough hard, turning away from him, hoping no one else here gets this stupid cold, he puts his arm around my shoulders and says, "How can I help you?"

For all the substantial challenges I know he will face in his life, for all the worries any parent would have in looking towards the future and imagining that someday you won't be there to ease the way for your child, it is this boy I worry least about.