As the autumn deepened, the Prince’s birthdays approached. When Shark Boy turned three years of age, the King and Queen had time to reflect. They thought warmly of the ways their lives had changed, and the ways they themselves had been transformed as people by becoming parents.
“I am so proud of our rambunctious, fun-loving, goofy, sporty, adventurous, energetic, generous, loving and charismatic little guy! “ announced the Queen. He possessed all these qualities and more, thought the King. He was also clearly bright, strong in body and will and would have made any father proud. What the King had said made him the proudest, however, was his good heart. Shark Boy knew how to show kindness to many, but none more so than the Lightning Kid, who he regularly smothered with hugs and affection.
Shark Boy’s birthday came and was a grand day indeed. The sun seemed to shine upon him, and he took full advantage; in that light, the King felt like he could see into his future. A child like the Lightning Kid would be blessed to have a brother like Shark Boy, and the King and Queen could be proud of how they were raising him so far. Still, as the King thought ahead (as he was wont to do), he knew the Lightning Kid would need the care of an older brother when he and the Queen would be long gone. And then he felt guilty for saddling Shark Boy with that responsibility. He worried further, since he knew it would likely be impossible for the Lightning Kid to have children of his own, it would fall to Shark Boy have heirs to the throne and transform the King and Queen into grandparents.
It was too far away to worry about, and the King had learned not to have expectations, as nothing in life was written or promised, and still he worried about putting undue pressure on Shark Boy. Yet as he thought about the joy that parenthood had brought the Queen and him, he could hope that he would be able to show that joy over the course of Shark Boy`s life, and he knew that whatever choices he would make for his own life, he would understand that having family, caring for and loving family was both a gift and a privilege. The King realized that Shark Boy`s good heart would always be his greatest strength and that he would always cherish family.