Dan Stringer

navigating the convergence of faith, culture and the common good

Happy 4th Birthday Vincent!

May 10, 2013

Today is your day, Vincent. Happy birthday! We’ve got cake, presents, and a song for you. Your mom, brothers and I are ready to celebrate.

For the past two and a half years, your memory has been mostly about me. It’s been about my loss, my sorrow, my questions, and my feelings. My thoughts about you often became more about my own grieving process, which isn’t always a bad thing.

But today is different, Vincent.

You are the star of the show today. You are a special kid, not because of how we felt when you got cancer and had to leave us, or because of how much we’ve missed you since, but simply because you are a gift. Always were and still are. We didn’t make you or give you breath. You were given to us. All we did was receive you and pick your name.

So today is not about me, Vincent. This birthday celebration is all yours. Four years ago, we welcomed you into our family. You were incredibly perceptive from the beginning, recognizing faces and knowing exactly what you could get from each one. You were an inquisitive learner, always studying your surroundings with intense wonder. You were joyful and relational, eager to pull Theo’s hair or hand your magnetic letters to anyone nearby.

Special thanks to our church friends for the cake!

It’s incredible how much Andre resembles you, your face, your voice, your lack of hairnot unlike the way you resemble Theo. We can only speculate on what you would look like at age four, but it’s not super hard to guess.

Forever the middle brother, you are today’s center of attention.

Happy birthday, kiddo.

  • Celebrating Vinny’s birthday today, with you all.


  • Happy birthday, little man!

  • Lorraine

    Yesterday I taught in Baguio the book of Ezekiel. It’s interesting how a story about Vincent slipped in with amazing clarity and ease. He’s always, always, in our heart and we will never stop celebrating his birthdays. I’m so proud of him. Proud to be his grandma. Proud that he’s my grandson. And thankful beyond words. …I know you’re having the best birthday ever up there Vinnie and we’re so glad God gave you to us. I love you forever.

  • Lorraine

    Hi, this is Dad. Your Mom & I were just discussing the other day what it meant for Vincent to be four years old, when he now lives in a place without night (and presumably therefore, without 24 hr days, or months or years). My guess is that he is maturing at a rate faster than what we experience down here. But I think that when we meet him again, we will still recognize him from the young child that we said a temporary good-bye to, but will greet him as a mature young man who will only have developed his lovely young character into glorious strength and depth. His patient and kind overcoming attitude, his inquisitive outlook on exploring life, his trust that carried him through the worst trials that earthly life could fling at him… matured into a dignity and glory that we ony get rare glimpses of seeing here in our present world. Towards the expectation of how wonderful it must be to get to be growing up in heaven, we can only join in that joy by expressing in our earthly terms, “Happy Birthday, Vinnie!”

  • Thanks everyone for your encouraging words. And cake!