The Indian word Kiran means "ray of light," and I'll never forget the moment Sandy's mother pointed to the sky and explained it. "You see the individual rays from the sun, coming through those clouds? That's kiran." I hate to over-romanticize anything, especially a 4 year old boy who spends his fair share of time in the corner. But, on his birthday, I can't help but overlook the mundane. Kieran truly is our ray of light. You see, he was born just over a year after my cousin Eric was killed, and only months after my Uncle Al died. In fact, I was pregnant with Kieran when I visited Al for the last time. During that visit, his friend showed us both a branch from the cottonwood tree, Al's favorite. I was amazed to see that if you cut a cottonwood branch at the thick knuckly parts, you'll find a brown star in the cross-section. A true star. Al's friend explained the legend of the cottonwood.
Stars don’t begin in the heavens.
They begin on earth, traveling up through the limbs
of the cottonwood tree and waiting on the tips of
its branches. When one star falls to the earth,
another leaps from the tree to take its place in the sky.
My life has never been the same since that little boy came into it. It's larger now. Full of more laughter, more worry, more wonder. My Uncle Al once said, "There is joy in life every day if we choose it." Kieran makes that choice so much easier.