So here I am on a Thursday morning. The sun is breaking gently through the dappled lime green leaves on trees that are finally catching their summer legs. My coffee steams beside me and I ponder the crazy, stupid tears that have unwittingly caught me off guard as of late. I've written so many blogs about my kids, and when they are no longer here I will write about my husband and myself and the rambling adventures we long to go on. Don't worry, I never run out of material.
But today I need one more blog about a child. One more.
You see, my baby is graduating this Sunday. He will don mortarboard and gown and receive a piece of paper that says he has achieved. ACHIEVED. For this I need a pause. Allow me one more weepy mess of words entangled in emotion because this is how I let it out.
As my children well know, Hunter was not planned. He was a sneaky little guy that was breathed into life when Selena was just two months old. God decided we needed a dark-headed, smiley little charmer to complete the fold. From the beginning he was just that - a charmer. He held on to me longer than the girls and could make me smile when I wanted to throttle him.
The girls loved him and would dress him up in sparkly clothes and play with him like a little doll. He would just smile and laugh, running around with a gold scarf tied around his little waist. I believe his skill and interest in street fashion stems from these times. Selena would sit on him until he would scream and he learned to fight back quickly. But looking back through the crinkles of time, even then, they were closely bonded.
Hunter is my loudest child, therefore he gets noticed - everywhere. Gets the blame. Gets the look. Being loud and standing out doesn't make you the culprit and I always felt bad for him in this way. We tried to teach him to use those traits to lead, to be kind to people, to not let his born-with abilities hinder him. He's overcome a lot and learned to deal with it. Unfortunately, even to this day there are people that like to say things about him that aren't true. We taught him to hold his head high when others seek to speak untruths. Once you know Hunter, or if you try to know him, you will see unspeakable kindness and generosity. He will go the extra mile for you. He will tell you hard truths as he looks you in the eye. As I've said, he has been the child that can always make me laugh just a little too hard.
He is a dreamer and is dreaming lofty dreams. I want him to have these dreams and am doing everything I can to help him get there. I want more for him than he knows for himself. I want him to reach and reach, climbing the ladder of self-worth until he succeeds in reaching his goals. I want him to push himself harder than he has ever pushed. I want him to reach higher and do more than people think he can. I want them to see Hunter for who he IS. Not Hunter-who-is-funny, Hunter-who-is-the-clown, or Hunter-who-is-too-loud-can-you-please-be-quiet. He is more than who he portrays. He is depth and light, joy and insight. He is clever and sensitive and those who don't see it are only surface-driven people. Step back and see him. Really see him.
On Sunday I will dress in nice clothes, take my husband's hand, and we will walk into the Hiland gym for the last time and watch our son receive his diploma. I will cry and hug his suddenly broad shoulders and be dazzled by the sunlight that shines on his face. His face so recently grown into the shape of a man's. When did this happen, my son, when did you grow away from a little boy's soft neck to the stubble of a beard too soon grown? My son, the one who would run for my soft arms and lenient embrace. I held him, my last one, for longer and harder.
Now he goes. Receives his permission from the powers that be to grab his life, that life those so young long to walk in to. I release him to that wild. I let go. My tears be hot and stinging on my face, yet I let him go. To find that resonating song of life and longing, to find his dream.
Go find it because you belong to it now and no longer to me. I feel the pulsating longing for distance, yet the tiniest pull to remain. Don't give in to it - seek, go, achieve. This is what your world is made for, my weepy toddler memories or not. I was here for your firsts, now go make the world your own.