✱ Eleven / by Evan Troxel

As of today, my oldest son has made eleven trips around the sun. I picked him up from school just before his lunch to go out and eat together. The two of us ate at a local pizza place which we haven't been to in over a year. In fact, it's my favorite pizza place, and I wonder if he chose it because of that. That's the kind of kid he is.

Then tonight I picked him and his brother up after work and we came home to a perfect home-cooked meal and special birthday sugar-free cheesecake that my wife made. It was amazing. After that, the kids all did their normal after-dinner routine and got ready for bed. We did our normal parental routine of tickling all of them before saying our final goodnights.

This is where I would've normally slipped out of the room, but tonight was a little different. My oldest asked if I would lay down with him. Without saying anything, and without hesitation, I did. He giggled with joy, and as soon as I was next to him, he grabbed hold of my arm and hugged me for the next few minutes. I know this probably won't happen too many more times. I truly cherished it as I laid there with him, just really enjoying the moment. I hope we will always remember it. I'm a lucky dad.