Today you are a senior.
With each passing year, my heart seems to skip an extra beat as I am asked to let go a little bit more. I long to read to you from the tattered, worn out, and deeply loved Pokeman Handbook. The one missing its front cover, the one tucked safely away in your box of childhood treasures, the one you learned to read from. You always knew when I tried to skip a page or two. You were always so patient with me as you guided me back to the proper page to read about Pikachu or Charizard or Exeggcute.
I long to fix your scraped knees and to watch as you dive, roll, hop, skip, and crawl to get from one place to another. The shortest distance between two rooms was never a straight line for you. I wonder if your preschool teacher ever fully recovered from your creativity. I still chuckle to think that you could hide out underneath a desk, with your best friend M.B. for over an hour, and have an entire classroom and administrative office in sheer panic trying to locate you. You taught me that life is an adventure, one to be enjoyed, played, and shared.
You have always inspired me, even though I may not have seen it that way. I mean, I did have to get over myself when you asked dad to attend your 7th grade orientation instead of me. Putting myself in your shoes, I would have done the same thing. I would have been terrified that you would have scrapbooked my locker or asked to take a picture with my new homeroom teacher. It is a gift to see you trust yourself.
There are moments when fear creeps into my heart, Drew. Did I do enough to make you feel loved? Have I created enough space for you to step fully into the truth of who you are? Have I packed you with enough life skills to be happy, to be authentic, and to be helpful? When I am able to sit with this fear, I realize that I desperately want to hold you, to protect you, and to shield you from life. You have helped me remember that all life experiences are necessary for growth. I have watched you experience disappointment, failure, and frustration with grace, strength, and humor.
You continue to fill my heart with wonder. I appreciate that we can communicate and understand without exchanging words. I cherish that we are still able to make each other belly laugh. I am grateful that we can frustrate the hell out of each other and still respect the other’s point of view. I am who I am today because of you. You mirror the traits I want to pass along. You expose the areas that still need tenderness and compassion.
As I sit in this moment… reflecting on a lifetime shared… I feel the most sacred of connections… one of life’s greatest treasures… the love between mother and child. As I move from fear to faith, I trust. As I look into your eyes, I see beauty and truth. As I place hand on heart, gently struggling to let go, I witness, I watch, I see you spread your wings.
I feel the same about you, Drew, “I couldn’t ask for a better son, even if I tried.”
“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.”