Rowan was happy. He always greeted everyone with a smile, and those he liked best with a giant hug. And even when he was sad to see you leave, he still blew kisses good-bye. His sister tells us that he hugged us so hard, we fell over, and it was true. Rowan was different than ‘typical’, and some strangers were aloof at first sight, but it never stopped him. I was always amazed how Rowan could win them over in minutes with a “Hi, Hi, Hi!”, a big wave, and an even bigger smile.

He loved to eat. All the time. I remember ‘training’ him to go for an hour without a snack. He relished food, especially food that seemed way too big for him: whole apples, corn on the cob, whole slices of pizza. He always wanted to eat whatever food I was eating, and I especially loved sharing pistachio muffins with him and when he stole my morning bagel. He always asked to go to the kitchen when his Dad was cooking and insisted on stirring the pot. I was convinced that he was going to be a cook, and his dad was already teaching him.

He loved to communicate. When we learned that Rowan’s speech would be delayed, we all learned American Sign Language. He loved signing story time where everyone spoke like him, and his sister was proud to learn his language. Through gestures, signs, and gentle touches, Rowan told us about his world every day. All we had to do was listen.

He was messy. Incredibly messy. He crawled for almost a year, and wanted to do everything his big sister did. So he crawled through everything, and got really, really dirty. Between dirt, food and drool, he and I always had very messy clothes at the end of the day, which we always wore proudly.

He loved adventure. He camped in the wilderness. He traveled to three foreign countries. He traveled by bike, trolley, ferry, and kayak. He went to libraries, parks, swimming pools, and pizza places.. and loved it all.  He had an exuberance for life and lived it with pure joy for himself and everyone around him every single day. Every single day. Even that last day when he thought he was on another great adventure.

He loved animals, and they loved him. Even our cat, who does not prefer people, would let him crawl on top of her to give her a hug. He loved his friends, and he had many. He loved music, and he would stop me in the middle of a busy day at the store to listen to the music playing. He loved to draw: “Daw, daw, daw”. He loved windmills and washing machines; he loved wagon rides and bike rides; he loved to swing and play with balls; he loved trains and cars; he loved his shoes and going places.

Rowan loved us and everyone and his sister best of all.