When you are twelve, fifteen, twenty-one, or forty will you remember? Will you have the moment etched in your memory when Mama picked you up at school after the call from the principal’s office-and did not even raise my voice when we got in the car? Will you remember how I almost cracked up when you asked with a big toothless forced smile; “So, how was your day before the call? Want to act all nice until we reach that part of the day?” I wish you could know how much your confidence, and curiosity at that moment affirmed my decision. I knew without a doubt that we had both arrived at the right place. You are ready, I whispered to myself. You are ready.
Will you recall how I very calmly said to you; “I love you babe. I’ll always love you. And, I can be really perplexed and even disappointed with the things you do some times. I might even worry a little that some of your choices, like laughing non stop in class, really get in your way. But Sam, today I have arrived at a new place. I have realized that as an almost third grader, as a musician, athlete, math wiz, and reader-you are ready. As an eight year old who has everything he needs in his heart and his mind to make good choices with yourself, your friends, your teachers, your coaches, your community, and your family-you are ready.”
Will you know what it felt like in your body when you asked me; “Ready for what?”
Will you feel that sense of wonder, awe, excitement, and that little twinge of concern your eyes seemed to convey when I answered while looking at you squarely in the rear view mirror: “Ready to decide who you really are.”
I am writing to tell you how freeing it is for me to release all the fear, anxiety, shame I occasionally feel when you get in trouble. How freeing it is to decide to just trust, love, and believe in you. To let go of all the pressure I put on you all the time, to be the version of you, I want to you be. You are not an eight year old me. You are you, Sam. You. Amazing.
You, son, are more than magnificent. You are a beautiful, talented, loving, curious, engaging, athletic, scientific, funny, relational, compassionate, magnificent YOU. There is nothing missing there.
Oh yes, I’ll still insist you write a public apology for any foolishness, and demand that you exhibit respect for your teachers, your friends, and most importantly yourself. I’ll still see to it that there are logical consequences when I can’t see you in the store, or you figure out how to buy games on my phone without asking. I’ll still expect the world of you. I’ll still deliver the part of it I can for your perusal, and participation. Bottom line Sam is that I will always love and adore you. This is what I believe they call; “Unconditional”. I’m sorry it took me this long to get that.
I hope I never convey to you any other message than this: everything is right with you.
How remarkable an opportunity we all have to journey with you in the life,
Love from Mom