It was just Wednesday evening that I realized it. We were chatting with one of your teachers in the kitchen. She had brought us supper, and you came down to say, “Hello.” Chatting and laughing, I turned to look at you and your eyes met mine in exactly the same place. “Wait!” I cried, and pulled you over. Standing next to each other, I looked directly into those big brown eyes with lashes for days. “How did you…? When did you…?” and you threw your head back to laugh but not before I saw the sparkle in them.
You’re as tall as me now. Strong and handsome with a deepening voice and a bit more assurance in the way you carry yourself.
Has it really been fourteen years since this happened?
…the nurse finally placed him in my arms. I was mesmerized. It had nothing to do with the fact that I had been carrying him for nine months, but it had everything to do with the realization that he was a wonder, a gift, and–as trite as it may sound–a miracle. I loved him instantly, and I was deeply, profoundly humbled by the realization that as much as I loved [him] in that moment, it was just an infinitesimal fraction of how much God loves us. It was an instantaneous, profound, life-altering shift in perspective.
(~Sophie Hudson, A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet)
You, my son, have always been such a gift, studying the world around you with intensity and leaping into life with exuberance. Your love for laughter and your friends pours out of you, yet you hold worlds of pain inside you with quiet strength. Strong-willed and resolved, you are your father’s boy, and as I watch you grow and become more like him, it makes my heart happy.
Of my three gifts, you are the one who remembers me before cancer came, before life shipwrecked us into a new world of survival and chaos. And yesterday when I melted down over failed lasagna I was making for your birthday, over feeling miserable and not able to play outside, over the continuous cycle of chemo, pain, and recovery, you came to me and put your arm around me. “I’m sorry, Ash,” I cried.
“Oh, Mom, it’s okay. There’s nothing to be sorry about.”
And I lost it. I cried while you held me close, and you know what I realized?
That spot? Under the chin? I’ve written about it so many times before… how no matter how big you get, your head still fits just perfectly under my chin.
That spot? You have one, too. And my head fit just perfectly into it yesterday and you held your mama while she cried.
Your heart is a gift, dear boy, and I love imagining where God will take you and use you.
Dad and I often talk about the teenage years with excitement… so much you will learn and do and ways you will change and grow. We long to walk through those days with wisdom for you and watch you grow in that wisdom. And we pray. May you never lose that heart, that faith, that love for your friends, and that delight in life around you. Wise and strong and brave and true… these are the words that pour from my lips each time I pray for you. Wise and strong and brave and true.
Happy fourteen, buddy.
You came into this world, Ash-man, and you changed everything for us.
In all the best ways.
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