My Son —

My son just had his 32nd birthday. Yes, 32nd. It is hard to believe that the tiny bundle that blessed our home in December, 1975 is 32 years old. Surely it was just yesterday that I looked into those turquoise blue eyes, tossled that carrot top hair, and counted those impossibly tiny fingers and toes.

It seems like just yesterday that I was wondering what he would be like at eight years old. For some reason, 8 yrs. old was a benchmark for me — not a baby and not a teen, but a boy with so much potential. Did he live up to my vision? Yes, he did. He was all boy, rough and tumble, with a bit of a temper but with a vulnerability that he was very slow to share. He wanted to be just like his dad, he didn’t “need” Mom, he worshipped his grandfather and he loved his sister but the only way he would show it was by “saving her life” when she did something dangerous.

Year eight went by very quickly.

Before we knew it, we were having senior photos taken and signing up for dorms. He was going away. I knew he needed to but I sobbed when we left him at school although I waited until we were out of sight. We heard from him VERY often his first semester at college — need for laundry, need for groceries, need to come home. Then the inevitable happened — the calls became less and less frequent. We knew he was ok because nobody had called to tell us differently. Only one thing could have happened. Yes, a girl.

The college years went by quickly with a few glitches along the way. There were the predictible moves from the dorm to the apartments to the houses and back to the apartments. There were the on-campus jobs that jangled my nerves knowing that he was working late hours and walking late at night on his own. There was the car accident that could have been so tragic and the major injury while ice skating. He survived them all and learned a lot. So did I.

What did I learn? I learned faith, trust, patience and to be forever thankful for the blessing that was given to me in the form of this little red-headed kid.

My son knows I am proud of him, for all his accomplishments and there are many, for the man he has become. But what he doesn’t know is how much I admire him for the obstacles that were put before him and how he rose above them. What he doesn’t know is how I wish I had his strength and perserverance and drive. What he doesn’t know is that I thank God every day for giving me the privilege of being this boy’s mother because I am sure he has taught me more than I ever taught him.

He is 32 now and has a boy of his own. Another blessing in the form of a little blue eyed, tow-headed Nathan. I look at Nathan and am transported back to 1975 and wonder …what will he be like at eight.

Happy birthday, son, I love you.

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