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William Henry Thompson IV

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Eight years ago this day, November 8, 2007, a medium-sized baby was born to Bill Thompson and Julie Zickefoose. He was reddish, with champagne-blonde hair on a head the size and shape of a Delicious apple. He was placid and attentive and a champion eater. He'd have nursed hanging by one foot, in sharp contrast to his sister, who was distracted by every little thing. As he grew, he began to squall, thanks to some undersized Eustachian tubes and chronic ear infections. Warm baths helped. There were days when he had four or five baths. Fortunately, he had been born to an old mother, who was patient and wise in the ways of fussy babies.

At first, he was bald, and his ears and lower lip stuck out in the most appealing way. They still do. His mother could not pass him without kissing him, and she still can't. He was slow to talk, and slow to walk, and he never crawled, but stumped around on his bottom, because that way he could not fall. He took his first steps at 21 months, on his mother's birthday, which also happened to be the day he got tubes put in his troublesome ears, and also the day his mother fainted when he was given anaesthesia and went limp in her arms.

He grew into a toddler with ice-blue eyes and a perfect bowl of white-blonde hair, who was rawther fussy and easily frustrated, but cute enough to override it. He kept the hair, but dropped the attitude.
Fairy child, do you know what wonder you are bathed in every day? Please don't move to the city when you grow up. But I know you will.

As he aged, he sweetened, like an apple, and at almost eight he is the sweetest of sweet little boys, and his mother and father would be perfectly content to preserve him exactly as he is right now, guileless and innocent, smelling of sun and copper pennies.He reads and reads. There is nothing he can't read.

Alas, he grows and grows, stretching like saltwater taffy, and there is no stopping that. We treasure him, his wild drawings, his obsession with trains and skulls, dinosaurs, Club Penguin and pirates and Halloween, his constant and hilarious malapropisms and neologisms. We love our little boy, even as we wave him goodbye, he who marches straight into the rising sun, growing and growing and growing.
photo by Bill Thompson III


What a beautiful tribute of a mother's love for her child. I too, had a little boy who I loved and still do. I told him not to grow up, I liked him just the way he was. But he kept growing and growing, till one day he took off for California, alone, in an old car, and I prayed and prayed that he would be safe and make it. He did. And out there he did some more growing up, but in a different way. He developed a work ethic, and became independent and strong. He was a college dropout, so the best job he could get was a waiter in a restaurant. That was a good thing. I knew his feet would eventually hurt him, from all the standing and walking each day on the hard floor of the restaurant. I knew when that day came, he would return home. And he did. He went back to college, and became a mechanical engineer. Now he's with me at Thanksgiving and Christmas, Mother's Day and my birthday and many days in between. He's the best son any mother could ever ask for - my grown-up-child, Christopher James Kitts.

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