To My Son On His Birthday

October 20th, 2013

“There has never been, nor will there ever be, anything quite so special as the love between a mother and a son.”  Unknown

We grew up together,you and I.  When I found out that Christmas season of 1980, that you were on the way, I was 24.   I wasn’t fully formed myself, and suddenly I was to have a little life to help shape and form and nurture and really, experiment with.  There may be mother’s manuals, but I’ve never found one that can really describe what it all means.  Only time, and the incredible roller coaster of being a mother opens your eyes and your heart to that.

Jackie Kennedy once said, “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do matters very much.”  As brilliant a mother as I think she was, I think she missed something.  We all bungle it up a bit, as well meaning as we are, but there are times when we magically get it just right as well.

You used to ask my why I had only one child.  My stock answer was always, “you were perfect, and I didn’t think I could ever do better”.  Despite your challenges, and despite mine in raising you, and in raising me at the same time, that still stands true.   In my eyes, you are just that…perfect.

I don’t think I tell you enough how much I admire you, even through your missteps, your drawbacks, and a few false starts.  You are harder on yourself than anyone, and I’m not sure you always see where you’ve succeeded.In a family like ours, success may be defined from the outside as worldly achievements.  It can’t have been easy being the first male grandchild in our family, both illuminated and yet possibly blinded by the fierce glow that surrounded us all when fortune came so quickly.

What I see now, is what I’ve always seen in you.  On the surface, an adorable and charming little boy who has turned into a handsome and charismatic young man.  Going deeper, your intelligence, your introspection, your quick analytic mind and your philosophical bent has always amazed me.  But most important, or at least, most important to me, you are, like your grandfather, kind.

Never underestimate that quality in yourself.  It’s the most crucial quality we can have in a world that can be so unforgiving , so judgmental, so violent and so cruel.  If I had one wish for this planet, it would be that people treat each other with more love.  You have that, and I know you’ve given that gift to others when they most needed it, and when you yourself may not have had much energy to do so.

I can’t tell you how happy I am that you’ve found love and purpose in your life.  It came to you later than some, but I think really, it came at the best time.  They say that the world breaks everyone, and some are strong in the broken places.  You are strong in those broken places.  Keep giving that strength back, as I know you will.

So, on this day of your 32nd birthday, I will repeat what I told you over and over as a child.  You are still perfect.  Go out there and try to make this imperfect world as wonderful as you are.







2 Comments on “To My Son On His Birthday”

  1. Arlene said at 7:45 am on October 22nd, 2013:

    This is beautiful. I could not have said it better as parenting comes with no directions and we all bungle our way through it hoping for the best. We are “Ben” fans and always will be. He is a special young man with a smile that encompasses all. Arlene

  2. cindy said at 9:30 pm on October 24th, 2013:

    Thank you Arlene for your kind words!!

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