As my son approaches the last week of classes for his freshman year at college, I look back over all the changes he’s made this year. He started this past fall as a scared, awkward, immature teenage boy, but he is coming home a man. I am so very proud of all he accomplished and all the growth he has shown this past year. It was so difficult for me to let him go. But, I needed for him to find his own wings and his own strong legs to stand on and be the amazing man I always knew he would be. There were rough times. Times when I would go in his bedroom and smell a t-shirt, just to feel closer to him. Times I would look through photo albums to the little boy he was and mourn my loss of his youth. But, more than that—-there were times of extreme pride. He made Dean’s List his very first semester. He found a tight circle of friends. He learned to do his own laundry and be responsible for himself. He sends me messages to tell me how much he misses me and how much he knows that who he is now is because of me and some sacrifices I made for him. He tells me he loves me more now than he ever did before. Guess what? He appreciates me in a whole new way. And so, our relationship has grown to this whole new level. I’m not there so much for nurturing anymore, as I am there as a confidante, a friend, a support system. We’ve both graduated to a new level as a parent and as a son. It’s quite an astonishing feeling.
This is a poem I wrote for him on his high school graduation day. In honor of my son, I want to share it with you.
Song for My Son
Here he comes
All scarlet rings framing pure alabaster
Towering gallantly like the strong Oak
The little boy shining through the blue depths
A little boy who was never really little.
Exceptional from the start
Setting off a maternal need I never knew existed
He came gently into my world and taught me more than I could ever teach him
From his first steps to these steps towards the Osaka sun
He cuts his own path, coloring his way with his own crayon.
I’ve always tried to hold his hand with steady restraint
Not too tight, always present
He became his own man before he could tie his shoes
Full of spitfire and boundless curiosity
Infuriating, inspiring. Maddening, marvelous.
As he flies off on his own trajectory,
I hope he remembers that as long as I have breath
He has a home wherever I am
I am his one constant in life, giver and sustainer
My boy becomes a man.