Gabriel Jamil Ragland turns 16 years old today. I can’t believe that this child is almost a man. Somehow I’ve managed to keep him alive long enough to where he’s almost ready to do it for himself. I’m so proud of my son, and he hasn’t even done anything. But he doesn’t have to do anything. If he’s happy and healthy, that’s all I care about.

My favorite memory of Gabriel was walking into his room when he was still in a crib, but old enough to stand. He’d be standing there, banging on the bars like a prisoner. And then he would see me and smile. Those days are gone, and it’s unbelievable that they’ll never come back. Now they’ve been replaced with watching him play guitar, or getting smoked in Street Fighter 6. New memories for me to look back on fondly someday.

Happy Birthday son. I love you and I hope this year is the best one yet!

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