Welcome to Fifteen

It is 7:35.  In sixteen minutes, my son will officially be 15 years old.  And I am sitting next to him and marveling at the young man who is growing up next to me.  In some moments, he is still a child, quick to want to go outside and goof off.  In other moments, he is hiding in his room, texting his friends, sleeping away hours of sunlight only to emerge as the sunsets.

I would think I had a vampire but he doesn’t sparkle.

He is eager to drive, dreams about getting behind the steering wheel and spinning away from the house and out to the horizon and away from the boundaries of his life.

He dreams about cell phones and smart phones.  Unlimited talk and text and a gigabyte of data.

He dreams about the future.  He thinks about his future home, his future family.

So much is within this incredible young man who is sitting next to me, his feet perched up on the footrest of the recliner couch’s extensions.  I have pictures of him in my office from when he was ten minutes old.  And his entire body fit perfectly in the image.

Now, the only way I could really get all of the Boy into one picture is if I stand at a distance.  But then, I wouldn’t be able to catch the joy in his smile , the mirth in his eyes.

I have written blogs, poetry, stories about this young man.  I have written letters about him, letters to him, letters in honor of him.

I have watched him fall down the front porch and break his jaw, watched him hobble to the ER when he broke his ankle and I couldn’t carry him because I had thrown out my back.  I have watched him cradle his arm in his other hand when he broke his wrist or arm or whatever.

I have held him when he fell off the playground equipment and gashed his forehead.  I made him count to twenty, tell me the alphabet, spell his name.  Because the gash looked to deep.  Now, it’s a tiny scar in his hairline and we call it his Harry Potter scar.

I have stood next to him after his heart was broken, bought him a necklace to give to another young lady, and then took the necklace from his limp hands when the young lady told him she was “too young to date.”

Today, I sat in the forum of our school and felt tears creep out of the edges of my eyelids as my son acted.  He was furious and screaming and his face was contorted with pain and I wanted to rush the stage and just hold him, comfort him.  But it was just an act.  I knew that a moment later, if I met him back stage, he would be grinning with euphoric relief.

I cried with him when we had to put down our cat.  I shook with joy with him when we got our dog.  I gripped his arm in comfort when he was rejected the first time.  I celebrated wildly when he was accepted into his high school.

My son is an amazing man.  And though many people would say that he is too young to be a man, the Boy has done incredible things in his life that many men have chosen not to do.  He has stepped up when others were being bullied, held the fist of the bully in his own hand to keep the bully from punching him, from punching others.

He picked up material that fell out of the broken end of a box, even though he didn’t cause the mess.

He accepted Christ as his savior and has always been a quiet disciple.

He is a man of integrity and dignity one moment and then a sardonic joker the next.

Six minutes.

Six minutes to that official moment.  My son was born while The Simpsons was playing.  He was born during the episode when Lisa Simpson decided to become a vegetarian.  He was born at the exact moment when the Simpson’s pig was flying after being forcefully expelled from the sewer where it had been lodged.

Yeah, I paid attention to the television…sort of.

When my son was being pulled out of me, I looked my husband in the eye and said, “I love you.”

I was not going to have my son being born in an environment of  blame or hate or pain.  This was the first and only time I could do this for my son.  I could give him love without condition.

My son isn’t perfect.  He doesn’t have webbed toes that enables him to walk on water.  He doesn’t do anything that makes him better than anyone else.

But he is my son.  And I will defend him from his criticizers to the day I die.  And then, I’ll come back and haunt them and  make them regret that they ever thought they could take advantage of him….

Okay, I’m a little off topic.  Sorry, it’s been a long day.

In a year and six months, my son will be driving.  Three years and three months and he will graduate from high school.

And then?

And then?

I don’t know.  But I know that I will always be the first to celebrate with him all of his successes.  I will want to hold him when he fails.  And though he might shirk against my embrace, I will still stand next to him…

or to the side..

or in his shadow.

Shoving him forward so he can try again.  So he can achieve.  So he can beat the odds and be successful and then even more successful than he could imagine.

One minute.

Less than sixty seconds.

I’m not ready for my son to become an independent man.

I am totally ready for my son to become an independent man.

But, until then…it is now 7:51 PM.

Happy birthday son.

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