I had that moment of “wait, I’m not finished,” but you know how to do laundry, and you can cook spaghetti. There are still plenty of things for you to learn out there in the wilderness without me. The compass I gave you as you hugged me goodbye is to help you find your way down the road. There’s so much to explore, to discover about others, and yourself. I figure you will show up on our doorstep at fairly regular intervals -- to raid the fridge, and watch your shows on the DVR, maybe to introduce me to someone special someday. It’s a great place to come back to and regroup when you need it.
You know your way home.
I want to remind you that I believe in you, that I’m proud of the man you’ve become. You have a tender heart, and you’re generous. If someone around you needs something, and you’ve got money in your wallet, you pull it out and hand it to them, without a second thought. I see you growing, still, becoming the kind of man who will make a loving husband and a strong, gentle father. You come from strength, from love and honor, son. The men in your life have shaped you in ways I never could, and for that I am grateful. You have and will do them, and me, proud.
There was a time when I worried about you learning to talk -- of course, sandwiched between two talkative sisters, it took you a while to decide you didn’t want them talking for you anymore. I worked diligently with you on letters and words, reading you Dr. Seuss books over and over hoping someday things would click. I recall the day I found you sitting in the floor of your bedroom, books scattered around you. You weren’t singing. That’s funny because for the first few years of your life, you thought all books were songbooks. When I asked you what you were doing, you smiled up at me and said, “I’m reading, Mama.” like it was the most natural thing in the world. I sat on the floor with you, and sure enough, you read to me... slowly sounding out the small words, and pointing at each one in turn. You’ve always been the child who did things when he got good and ready.
And you’re ready, son.
A framed set of pictures, taken of all of you kids, hangs on the wall in the den. Around the edge is written, “Home is where your story begins...” I’m sure you know how much I love that you, Sarah and Jericho are writers. You all developed a love of language, that took on a life of its own. I’ve seen that light of inspiration dance in your eyes, as you told me about how your fantasy characters were telling you how to write their stories. As for your story, you took the pen from my hands years ago, and started writing it. I can’t wait to see how the next chapter unfolds.
Go. Write your story, and I’ll be here, forever reading.