Today is my son, Will Lloyd’s fortieth birthday.  In two days, my brother will be sixty, and in three days I will be seventy.  Let the letter writing begin.  

Dear Will,

The best way for me to wish you a Happy Birthday would be in writing and pictures.  So here it goes.

As you know, you were born William Stacy Lloyd around 4PM on February 13th, a Friday. Your were named after my father and your dad,  and there was great rejoicing.  The world became a better place with your birth.  We had you  Christened at two weeks so your grandfather could attend since he was so ill.

Here are three pictures:  One the day of your birth, your Christening picture with your name sake grandfather, and a picture I loved with you and your father.ScanDaddy's story part 3-5

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At the time of your birthday party last week, your wife Kara asked me for some favorite pictures.  These are the ones I sent her and a few more

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When any child is born, responsible parents do the best they can, and just live their life as a family. And  indeed we did.  With three older half siblings and seventeen months later a sister, and the age of your parents, there were real almost four generations in one family at the time of your birth.

Your dad was always so proud of his five children!

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But that is you original Fredericksburg family.  The large extended family in Cleveland we spent a lot of time visiting through the years.  And your Uncle Jonathan’s family in New Jersey. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA uncle george and family uncle george and kids-4 IMG_0454 Scan 113410002
 could be here all day writing and posting pictures of all the fun times we had.  The first twenty years filled about fifty photo albums.

But also in your life you had a lot of life long friends.  The pictures I shared with your video were these:  Your best friend, Jimmy and Dave who went on all our vacations with us.will 40th birthday-1 will and jimmy shepard-1 photoIMG_0035

And if I started listing all the vacations, the trips to Myrtle Beach, On the QE2, to Florida and Walt Disney World, to Bermuda, to Europe twice this blog would go on forever. And this is just your first 18 years.

Then you went to Randolph Macon College, and your sister attended with you the next year.  At the end of the first two decades, your mom had a medical crises going on.  It was then that I realized just what kind of man you had become.  The support you gave me, and  the essay you wrote about my illness while you were in college makes me cry every time I read it
which leads me to the second half of your life.

You met the love of your life in College and Kara and you built a life together from that time forward.  So the second 20 years was filled with graduating from Randolph Macon College, and doing jobs in the sales field that not every person can do.  Whether it was with the Richmond Times Dispatch early on or medical type of sales, your personality was a perfect combo with your career.

Your father was so proud as was I watching you mature and find your way in the world.  We were so overjoyed with your marriage and Holly’s wedding.

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Now the last ten years alone would fill another 20 photo albums and 25,000 digital pictures but through it all.

But here are some favorites:  Babies 0382006_10033and4months0045 Babies 054 DSCF1908

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And then before you know it everybody grew and grew and grew.

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I left out the part of your father’s passing.  But you gave him such joy with your family, with your support when he was ill.  I know he is looking down and smiling at you and wishing you a Happy Birthday too!

And he is proud of the way you all take care of your mom!

So now I am back to the beginning.  Wishing you a Happy Birthday my son.  I love you dearly.  And I can’t help notice that you look and act very much like your grandfather.  He was an honorable, kind, friendly, smart, well loved man, and great father just like you.

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There you both are at the same age.  I love you Will.  My firstborn son!  Happy 40th  Birthday!!

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Love, Mom

P.S.  Your wife gave you a terrific birthday party!  It was so wonderful seeing your old high school and college friends again.